Sandhya Sood, founding principal of Accent Architecture+Design in Berkeley, Calif., was presented a proclamation by Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates Oct. 7 honoring her “emphasis on sustainable design and building” and her “awareness of the relevance of (the late California architect) Julia Morgan’s work and the shared architectural heritage of our city and state.”

“My pursuit of a human-centered architecture rooted in the local climate, culture and setting is embedded in sustainable design principles that enable smart, client responsive and site-specific solutions,” the Indian American architect told India-West.

"Buildings that use passive energy of the sun as a source of comfort not only reduce heating and cooling costs but also allow people to be more engaged with their surroundings, reflecting good health and livability," she added.

Prasad Vaidya, LEED Fellow, energy consultant and the author of “Fundamentals of Integrated Design for Sustainable Buildings,” who is familiar with Sood’s work, said Sood's background in diverse climate conditions of India and the U.S., and her "appreciation for architectural history and knowledge of climate responsive strategies are all incorporated into her unique design practice.”

“She analyzed Julia Morgan's work from these perspectives and highlighted how such cost effective climate responsive strategies are more relevant today to build resilient buildings as we face climate change."

A graduate of U.C.-Berkeley's College of Environmental Design, Sood was recognized for her contributions to Julia Morgan’s posthumous award, the 2014 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, its highest honor.

Accent Architecture+Design’s portfolio unfolds residential, commercial, mixed-use and community design projects in a range of scales and locations. Sood’s varied experience includes innovating low-cost building techniques with local materials for passive solar design in the Himalayan foothills of India, designing multi-family courtyard community housing for California and evaluating climate responsive architecture in India, Switzerland, France and the U.S.

Sood found overlaps in her approach and Morgan’s work, which motivated her to study Morgan’s “passive solar techniques and climate responsive design strategies that support Berkeley's sustainability mandate,” the proclamation said.

“Julia Morgan was a 20th Century architect, yet her simple building design strategies are more relevant in the 21st Century, considering our diminishing global resources and environmental challenges,” Sood told India-West.

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