PRISM Sustainability in the Built Environment

PRISM Sustainability in the Built Environment

PRISM is a unique online journal, resource and cooperative effort to further sustainable building for both emerging and experienced architects, specifiers, consultants, builders, suppliers, and users of sustainable building materials.

  • Emerging architects and others who hope to work in this fast-paced and incredible fulfilling environment can better understand and grow their knowledge, scope and understanding of sustainable design.
  • Experienced architects, specifiers and others involved in green building receive materials information, news, and resources for their building projects.

PRISM provides architects, consultants, specifiers, builders, suppliers and users of sustainable building materials; the product information, news, project profiles, organization news, insights and other articles and information on sustainable building in one place. It integrates the parts that make the whole—materials, systems, their specification and use—as the green-building era continues to mature and evolve into the whole-building era, with its emphasis on the building envelope, solar energy, cool roofs, net-zero and net-positive design, and the passive building.

PRISM integrates the old with the new—historic restoration and preservation —and urban planning and the increasing focus on exurban planning.

PRISM’s mission is to disseminate information on the sustainable built environment in one publication, and to further the cause of sustainable building.  PRISM provides a forum in which to discuss ideas, ask and answer questions, and offer emerging architects expertise. PRISM focus is on sustainable building materials in hopes that information published today will contribute to sustainable and resilient buildings tomorrow. Our belief is that sharing and cooperating with each other can add value to a sustainable future while ensuring the preservation of the past.

Emma Kapp

Publisher, PRISM

photo of Emma KappCEO, PRISM Media LLC

It’s been a long, strange journey that brings me to this point—the launch of PRISM.

But a love of publishing and media—and of sustainability in the built environment—are the common themes that bring some rationality, continuity and purpose to that journey.

The gravitation to publishing and media may be an inherited trait. I was born into a family of writers, with ancestry that dates back at least several centuries and multiple generations of writers. I also have been able to visit some of the most amazing architectural creations, from beautiful modern buildings in Paris and lovely Mediterranean villas in Milan to war-torn churches in Cologne. These iconic structures all resonated with me, so a collaborative venture to create a media entry focused on architecture and the built environment only seems natural.

Yes, the route traveled in reaching this destination called PRISM has been somewhat circuitous.

Armed with a BA in French and an MBA, I joined Technology Publishing Co. in Pittsburgh some 19-odd years ago. Like others with a degree in French, the logical place to start was in—sales for the print journal Protective Coatings Europe (PCE). Then came a big break—sales manager of PCE and then Product Manager at the online portal

Taking a detour into owning my own business, a partner and I ran MDS, a strategic marketing company. A highlight was a research project on 3D printing, a nearly unknown phenomenon at the time.

Eventually, though, my passion for publishing drove me back to Technology Publishing.  Initially I held the position of sales manager company-wide, and then was promoted to my dream job, publisher of the Journal of Architectural Coatings.

After leaving Technology Publishing, my career took a segue due to family issues—helping to care for my parents. But I did manage the job of chief marketing officer for my husband’s company and in effect managed the business for him. 

My passion, however, has been and always will be the functional and aesthetic aspects of the built environment. I am fascinated with the inroads made in sustainable products such as reflective coatings, air barriers, exterior cladding and roofing, and a myriad of other technological advances. I am intrigued by the functionality that each product brings to the building, and how the building as a whole works to protect occupants from the elements. Also a primary interest is urban planning and its focus on sustainable living. I admire both the historical and the contemporary in architecture, and I gaze in awe at striking building designs, realizing that a group of very talented people used their talents and vision to impart a high degree of functionality, employing ever-evolving technologies. Coupled with imaginative design, these creative structures are truly a work of art and science.

Drawing from many years in another radically transformed profession—publishing and media—Brian, our contributing authors, and I will strive to chronicle and portray the endlessly diverse facets of the built environment, viewed in the context of a richly endowed planet that faces a host of daunting environmental and human challenges.