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PRISM is located in Ligonier outside of Pittsburgh

About PRISM Sustainability in the Built Environment

PRISM Sustainability in the Built Environment is a leading growth-orientated publication covering all aspects of the architectural built environment. An online bimonthly publication and daily website ensure readers have all of the latest information on sustainable building design and materials at their fingertips.

PRISM partners with the industry to transcend the typical definition of ‘sustainability’ to illuminate the essence of sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the architectural built environment.

PRISM integrates the whole building — providing timely news and information on building science, color and design; historic restoration and preservation; landscape architecture; urban and exurban planning; and industry news, focusing on the commercial and institutional markets.

Read PRISM's media kit.


Emma Kapp

Publisher, PRISM

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.

ThEmma Kappe 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.


Building Science March 19

Ball breaks ground on new headquarters building in Westminster

Swinerton, general contractor, Stantec, lead architect, and Officescapes, a Steelcase dealer, are helping Ball to reimagine its Colorado campus with an inclusive and collaborative environment in mind. The campus will have a flexible, cooperative work environment between the new four-story building, POC, Ball Technology and Innovation Center (BTIC) and Aerospace Manufacturing Center (AMC), featuring a variety of work spaces including exterior gathering spaces and walkways.


Color March 19

TRIA to design new Dementia Discovery Center for Eisai Inc.

The new facility designed by TRIA will feature an open office plan and adjacent open laboratory for Eisai’s neuroscience R&D team of over 100 employees, which is set around a central collaboration meeting space dubbed “The Brain.” The site’s open labs are designed to allow multi-disciplinary scientists (including wet-lab chemistry, biology and automation) to work together in a single, accessible and shared lab space.


In the news March 19

Elected officials join Affirmed Housing and PATH Ventures to open Phase 1 of PATH Metro Villas

PATH Metro Villas is a two-phase, transit-oriented development that will ultimately provide 187 affordable and permanent supportive apartments and homeless services in one location on the PATH campus.  Phase 1 of Metro Villas, the David TC Ho Family Building, is an L-shaped, five-story community featuring 65 units of affordable housing.  Fifty-one units are designated as supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness or chronic homelessness, and fourteen units are for low-income households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income.


Historic Preservation March 19

RHEINZINK selected to protect heritage of 120-year-old church

Completion of the re-roof project at the historic Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, British Columbia, marks the culmination of a massive four-phase, 22-year renovation plan. The Cathedral—built originally in 1894—was the first church in Vancouver and began with a cedar shake roof. Through the years, various additions and modifications were undertaken, but none contributed significantly to the historic structure’s long-term sustainability.


Urban March 19


Materials March19

G&S Acoustics introduces GeoDesign & GeoDesign Ridge acoustical wall panels

GeoDesign and GeoDesign Ridge panels are cut to standard geometric shapes — hexagon, trapezoid, rhombus and polygon — up to 4’ x 4’ across. The company states they can also be cut to a custom shape that fits a specific design. According to G&S Acoustics, these sound-absorbing panels have a six to seven pcf fiberglass core that provides a NRC sound absorption range of .55 up to .85, based on standard acoustically transparent fabric. 


Industry News March 19

Randall W. Poston elected president of American Concrete Institute

Randall W. Poston has been elected to serve as president of the American Concrete Institute for 2019-2020, Cary S. Kopczynski has been elected ACI vice president for a two-year term, and Jeffrey W. Coleman is now the Institute’s senior vice president, which is also a two-year term. Additionally, four members have been elected to serve on the ACI Board of Direction, each for three-year terms: Walter H. Flood IV, Maria G. Juenger, Michael E. Kreger, and Ishita Manjrekar.



Roadmap for Designing Net Zero Labs

Laboratories tend to be the most energy intensive facilities, and as result pose the greatest challenge meeting a Net Zero goal. Planning and developing laboratory facilities with a Net Zero approach will more than likely increase costs during the initial phases of a project. However, if done properly, the long-term benefits (should/will/may) provide a smaller carbon footprint, will maximize energy efficiency and will also result in the most cost-effective operational approach for a facility.


Project Profile March 19

St. Pius Chapel and Prayer Garden in New Orleans designed by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple as sanctuary for quiet, individual prayer

The new chapel is a delicately-placed, quiet counterpoint to the adjacent church, contrasting in scale but similar in form and material. The tall, angled shape of the chapel ties the building to its neighbor and creates a soaring space for worshippers within—a cathedral for one. The sculpted form is carefully carved on two sides and at the roof, allowing light to leak in from above the ceiling, along the floor, and adjacent to the sacred tabernacle.