The AIA and it's Committee On The Environment [COTE] have selected the top 10 buildings that exemplify environmentally-minded architecture and design. These projects and their architects will be honored in New Orleans at the 2011 AIA National Convention.
These buildings are chosen because of their "positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental impacts through strategies such as reuse of existing structures, connection to transit systems, low-impact and regenerative site development, energy and water conservation, use of sustainable or renewable construction materials, and design that improves indoor air quality."
Here are the chosen projects in no particular order:
Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)
Mixed-use | New construction | 32,000 ft2 (2,970 m2) | Completed April 2010
Cherokee Studios is a mixed-use, market-rate infill development pending LEED Platinum status. What sets this project apartment aside from its standard range of energy-efficient components is the performance of the building, which is said to be about 50% more efficient than a similarly designed conventional building and 50% more efficient than the Title 24 requirements.
First Unitarian Society Meeting House, Madison, WI
The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.
Other | 91% new construction, 9% renovation of a historic building |
24,300 ft2 (2,260 m2) | Completed September 2008
In late 2008, the First Unitarian Society of Madison completed a major new addition to its Frank Lloyd Wright-designed meeting house. With the framework of the stipulations of such a historic piece of architecture and the demands of the congregation, this LEED Gold building was a process of a complicated and integrated solutions rather than a single design strategy.
Kiowa County K-12 Schools, Greensburg, KS
K-12 education | New construction | 132,000 ft2 (12,300 m2) | Completed July 2010
Greensburg, Kansas, in case you forgot, was a town that suffered the wrath of a EF5 tornado in 2007. Unified School District 422 has decided to rebuilding a single K-12 facility aiming for LEED-Platinum certification. In order to achieve such a goal, the community combined three rural districts making the new school a regional affair. In addition to good design, a big focus on the school is that it ties in traditionally with the surrounding area and doubles as adult education and senior citizen center.
High Tech High Chula Vista, Chula Vista, CA
Studio E Architects
K-12 education | New construction | 44,400 ft2 (4,120 m2) | Completed March 2009
High Tech High Chula Vista is a LEED-Gold certified high-school serving 550 students. The school's design made for some interesting strides in sustainable development including a learning environment free of toxic substances, using resources cost-effectively and maximizing sunlight for both lighting and energy production.
LIVESTRONG Foundation, Austin, TX
Commercial office | Renovation | 28,300 ft2 (2,630 m2) | Completed February 2009
The adaptive reuse of a warehouse involved opening up the facade and roof for natural lighting, recycling or reusing 88% of the materials from the demolition and milling the salvaged roof decking to construct a variety of flexible-use enclosures.
LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Olympia, WA
The Miller | Hull Partnership
Laboratory, Commercial office, Interpretive Center |
New construction | 32,500 ft2 (3,020 m2) | Completed July 2010
This project, instead of creating a division between residents and waste-water, embraces the very nature of water as both a precious and finite source featuring an on-site water reclamation pond, a renovated 7,700 ft2 water quality laboratory and a 3,500 ft2 education and technology center.
OS House, Racine, WI
Johnsen Schmaling Architects
Single-family residential | New construction |
1,940 ft2 (180 m2) | Completed March 2010
OS House is a compact urban home that is one of the first homes in the Upper Midwest to achieve LEED-Platinum certification. In addition to the standard assortment of energy-efficient trappings, the design of the home was to give 4 inhabitants the maximum amount of floor space possible by eliminating redundant closets, parking spaces and bathrooms while utilizing good siting, a hybrid envelope and plenty of outdoor space.
Research Support Facility (RSF)
at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO
Other | 222,000 ft2 | Completed June 2010
The Research Support Facility building, with an average of about 800 occupants, 60 visitors a week and a data center, is the largest net-zero-energy commercial office structure in the US. The stringent nature of the design, energy conservation and high-performance make it a living laboratory and testament that even intensive buildings can be made sustainable.
Step Up on 5th, Santa Monica, CA
BROOKS + SCARPA (formerly Pugh + Scarpa)
Special needs housing, Mixed-use | New construction |
31,600 ft2 (2,940 m2) | Completed April 2009
What makes this building special is the combining institutional housing and support services with Manhattan-level densities. In addition to providing a density 258 units of housing per acre, the project is located in a transit-oriented neighborhood with access to community resources and services. Lastly, this immense challenge was combined with the challenges of making of lessening solar loads, maximizing wind exposure and making the building naturally lit all the way through.
Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia
Design Architect: LMN Architects, Prime Architects: DA/MCM
Community, Mixed-Use | 1,200,000 ft2 (111,000 m2) | Completed April 2009
One-million-two-hundred-thousand square feet and LEED-Platinum certified? That's possible when you have a commitment to make every aspect of the project both environmentally responsible and urban-friendly. Aside from the standards of energy-efficient design, this project went above and beyond with integration of surrounding infrastructure, impressive energy and water systems, an elevated viaduct and an artificial reef to guide salmon around the perimeter of the development.
For more info, please see this press release.
Images courtesy of the AIA