Each year the AIA's Committee On The Environment (COTE) honors the best new sustainable architecture projects with a series of awards. These top-notch winners were chosen based on their reduced environmental impact as well as their positive contribution to their communities. The jury selection covers everything from mixed-use residential projects to schools, churches, offices and even a giant green-roofed convention center - read on for a look at this year's top projects!
Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, CA
These urban infill, mixed-use, market-rate apartments are designed with energy efficiency in mind — they utilize passive cooling strategy like cross-ventilation and thermal convection to make the most of their sunny southern California location. Cherokee Studios is currently awaiting LEED Platinum certification and it also features an owner-controlled, double facade system with operable metal shade screens.
First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, WI
The First Unitarian Society needed to expand their facilities to accommodate their growing congregation, however they wished to preserve the integrity of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed National Historic Landmark Meeting House. The 20,000 sq ft addition provides space for expanded daily needs, exemplifies the congregation’s deeply held environmental values, and reflects Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture.
Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, KS
After a devastating tornado tore through Greensburg, Kansas, the town was all but destroyed and in need of many new facilities, including a new school. This K-12 facility utilizes a highly flexible, sustainable approach that focuses on students and is targeting LEED Platinum certification.
High Tech High Chula Vista, Chula Vista, CA
This public charter school places a strong focus on community, project-based learning, and fostering students’ individual interests. HTH’s main principles are small class sizes, openness and transparency, and sustainable design.
LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, TX
This adaptive reuse project of a former paper factory in Austin is now the headquarters for Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation. Reclaimed materials, creative office spaces, and natural daylighting make this a beautiful project.
LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, WA
The LOTT Clean Water Alliance celebrated the essential resource by placing its water reclamation plant right out in the open and revitalizing an older facility. The office, education and technology center provides wastewater treatment services to 85,000 people in four local communities and emphasizes water conservation through a strong community outreach program.
OS House, Racine, WI
This LEED Platinum-certified urban home features a compact design on a narrow infill lot and eliminates extraneous closet space, bathrooms and parking spaces in order to maximize floor space. The high-performance home features energy-efficient passive solar design as well as a rainscreen and a tight building envelope.
Step Up on 5th, Santa Monica, CA
This mixed-use project provides permanent affordable housing and support services for the homeless and mentally disabled population in the heart of downtown Santa Monica. Density and a transit-oriented location are mixed with natural daylighting, passive solar design and access to community resources.
Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia
The LEED Platinum Vancouver Convention Centre is well-known for its large green roof, but it also deserves major props for its commitment to energy efficiency, the community, and the area’s waterways and salmon. The project includes an artificial reef to guide salmon around the perimeter of the development.