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VISUAL IMAGERY is an important part of the discussion around new casinos in Massachusetts ( “Wynn shows his hand to Foxborough,’’ Page A1, March 3). However, with all the issues and emotions at play related to the casinos, regulators and the public should not lose sight of the design criteria required by the casino legislation passed last year. The new law requires the Gaming Commission to prescribe criteria for evaluating any casino application, including “architectural design and concept excellence, integration of the establishment into its surroundings, potential access to multi-modal means of transportation, tourism appeal’’ as well as an applicant’s financial strength. Sustainability is a key element of design excellence.

Given the major energy and climate-change impact of buildings, the criteria for evaluating casino buildings and landscapes should go well beyond current minimal sustainability standards. Sustainable building technologies and systems have made remarkable advances in recent years, and costs to achieve high levels of sustainability are often comparable to standard building practices, but only if they are integrated early on in the design process. For example, a sustainable casino should maximize solar orientation for heating and cooling, minimize storm water and traffic impacts, and maximize public transit options.

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David Gamble

Chair, Boston Society of Architects

Urban Design Committee

Boston