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Leonardo Di Caprio: The Latest Architecture and News

Leonardo DiCaprio's "Before The Flood" Climate Change Documentary

Update: Unfortunately this free online viewing was only intended for a limited time and National Geographic has now removed the video. If you didn't catch the documentary in time, you can still watch it on DVD. In place of the full documentary, we have now included the trailer above.

As a group, architects are without question among the most enthusiastic supporters of sustainable initiatives around. It should therefore be welcome news to many architects that National Geographic has released its latest documentary on climate change, Before the Flood, for free on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter—pretty much everywhere.

Presented by Hollywood superstar and recently-appointed UN Climate Ambassador Leonardo DiCaprio, the documentary is perhaps the most ambitious film about climate change since Al Gore's 2006 An Inconvenient Truth. Throughout the course of the 90-minute film, DiCaprio travels the globe to see the damage wrought by the early signs of irreversible climate change, from melting glaciers, to dying coral reefs, to flooding cities. Speaking to world leaders including Barack Obama and The Pope, as well as a whole host of climate scientists, DiCaprio's aim is not so much to convince viewers of the existence of climate change, as with An Inconvenient Truth, but instead to investigate just how far down the wrong path we've traveled, and whether there is any hope for humanity to save itself.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Eco-Tourism, and Blackadore Caye: Has Green Building Jumped the Shark?

In early April 2015, the New York Times reported on Leonardo DiCaprio’s recent purchase of Blackadore Caye, a small island off the coast of Belize that has faced significant environmental degradation and erosion. A patron of several environmental projects, DiCaprio is partnering with Paul Scialla, CEO of the Delos real estate and wellness platform, to create an eco-resort intended to serve as the latest model of cutting-edge, environmentally-responsible tourism development. The development plans include a row of floating guest suites built over the water, 48 private villas (ringing in at $5-15 million), human health and anti-aging wellness programs, and a conservation area. The project is advertised as meeting the ambitious green building standards of the Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard®.

Many Times readers in the comments section sardonically noted that the private jets and the shipment of building materials and daily resources for island development come with large environmental and social price tags that far outweigh the conservation efforts associated with the resort. On the other hand, a few commentators pointed out that the development will employ local labor and save the island from complete degradation. The discussion surrounding the pros and cons of “eco-tourism” development is not a new one, and not one that is easily settled.

But beyond the (important) discussion of the impacts of eco-tourism, the development raises questions about the emergence of alternative green building market standards, which ostensibly aim to transform the building industry by setting measurable targets for the environmental and social effects of the places we live and work.

Leonardo DiCaprio Taps Jason McLennan to Design "Restorative" Eco-Resort in Belize

Founder of the Living Building Challenge, sustainability aficionado and architect Jason McLennan has been commissioned by famed actor Leonardo DiCaprio to design a 68-vila eco-resort on a private island in Belize. As The New York Times reports, the ambitious 42 hectare (104 acres) "Blackadore Caye, a Restorative Island" will be carried out by New York developer Delos by 2018.

The resort will feature an arc of floating suites built over the water and a network of artificial reefs and fish shelters, along with 48 millionaire villas and an indigenous plant nursery focused on manatee conservation.

“My goal was always the fact that I wanted to create something not just environmental, but restorative,” said DiCaprio to the newspaper. “A showcase for what is possible.”