Doris Sung
and Karen Sabath

Project: InVert™ Self-Shading Window System, Los Angeles

Doris Sung - Architect, Professor, Lead Designer/Inventor

Doris Sung brings active systems to sustainable design far beyond the simple "greening" of a building. With the belief that buildings can be more sensitive to the changing environment like human skin, she seeks ways to make the building skin dynamic and responsive. Through grant-funded research, she is developing smart materials, such as thermobimetals, to self-ventilate, sun-shade, self-structure and self-assembly in response to changes in temperatures--all with zero-energy and no controls. 

Doris completed her undergraduate education at Princeton University and graduate studies at Columbia University. Juggling between research and teaching at the University of Southern California, she invents new technologies, publishes her work, lectures world-wide and exhibits internationally. Her talk has reached 1.2 million views and her list of awards continue to grow to include a National AIA Small Projects Award, ACSA Design Awards, Architect Magazine R+D awards, World Technology Award and the [next idea] award from ARS Electronica. In 2014, she was named a U.S. Artist Fellow, joining an elite group of architects and artists and more recently was selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Fellow.


I strongly feel that architecture school’s unabashed indoctrination of Modernism needs to be reconsidered. The inventions of long-spanning steel, plate glass and wide-spread use of electricity of the early 1900s pushed aside the centuries-old use of thick walls used for insulation in buildings and small windows that effectively prevented heat gain in buildings. By 1925, human’s single-minded pursuit of unobstructed views of nature far exceeded the consideration of damage it would do to our carbon footprint and ultimately climate. Now buildings use more energy than the transportation or industrial sectors. So rather than just talk about the problem, I decided to quit my architecture job to find more concrete solutions.

For the last 10 years, I have been dedicated to changing the conservative building industry by inventing new technologies and new methods of construction with “smart materials”, or materials that respond to environmental changes without the use of energy or computer controls/chips. By doing so, I hope to reduce the need of energy in buildings and make building envelopes the first line of defense like the skin on the human body. That way, we can reduce our reliance on massive HVAC systems and return to a “smarter” and simpler version of architecture, using no energy to save energy. Because, frankly, we don’t need more complicated systems…we just need smarter ones.

Karen Sabath - CFO & Head of Sustainability

Karen began her career in the financial services sector in the mortgage finance department at First Boston. Karen was promoted to an associate position following a year and a half of working on more than 30 deals with the company. Seeking a wider platform, Karen left six months later to join the start-up asset management company, BlackRock where she spearheaded the integration of the trust division of PNC Bank upon its merger with BlackRock and grew that operation into BlackRock Funds, its mutual fund division, where she was its President at age 28.  

After retiring from BlackRock in February 2001, Karen became an investor (both active and passive) in private ventures. Karen is also currently active in several sustainable ventures, including organic farming and hands-on beekeeping and also serves as a board member and the Treasurer of Bedford 2020, a grass-roots organization whose mission is to dramatically reduce energy emissions in our local area. Karen graduated cum laude with a degree in economics from Princeton University and holds a certificate in Environmental Conservation and Sustainability at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. 


Seeking a sustainable life means taking the steps necessary to reduce our impact on the environment and preserving natural resources to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.  I believe that reducing our personal reliance on fossil fuels and pursuing strategies for others to reduce theirs are essential to combating climate change. 

My commitment to living sustainably was inspired in 2001 by my sister who started a sustainable farm and where I became a beekeeper, instantly exhilarated by the workings of the hive. Taking a leap from the bees, I’ve continued to pursue actions where the whole benefits from the actions of many individuals and I’m seeking to do that with TBM. The opportunity to install TBM’s InVert window shading system in one of the C40 cities (and beyond) would mean that the actions of innovative and highly motivated individuals could positively impact the world by reducing solar heat gain, reducing the need for artificial cooling, lowering fossil fuel use and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. This would make sustainable living part of everyday life. 

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