Green Practices

Larry Zgoda makes a conscientious effort toward environmentally sound practices in studio, design and fabrication activities. These activities are, at times, routine and mundane while at other times intuitive and serendipitous.

An example of the latter recently surfaced with a friend, who suppliments his home heating with a wood-burning stove. The friend rescues discarded wooden pallets for firewood. Having discovered a company that imports and sells tropical, hardwood flooring, he obtained many pallets made of the same material. After milling, the heavy boards of the pallets turned out to be ideal for framing many of Larry’s stained glass creations. The results are beautiful. Note that Larry does not usually advocate the extensive use of exotic materials in architecture, but in this instance, it’s greener to use it than not to use it.

Another example occured several years ago. A local hot-glass artist found herself having made many glass objects that were not up to her standards. Rather than seeing them discarded, Larry bought them and continues to explore this abundant resource. The variety of color, pattern, thickness and form are a challange to an artist working primarily in flat, stained glass, but the results are stunning. Many visual qualities are possible, not otherwise obtainable with standard, stained glass materials. Larry continues to pursue this unique resource.

From the time of the establishment of Larry Zgoda Studio in 1978, the recycling of refuse material has been carried out. Scrap lead, copper and brass are regularly taken to the recycle center. Currently, all varieties of scrap glass are saved and donated to the Chicago Mosaic School ( for use by students and others.

Finally, Larry Zgoda advocates aesthetics that connect him directly to forces that determine whether what we build today is long-lived and essential, not petty and disposable. His essays on “Genuine and Permanent Beauty in the Built Environment” argue for beauty as a measure of value in human works both past and present.