Architects Select Top Ten Green Buildings

Architects Select Top Ten Green Buildings

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) has selected its annual Top Ten "Green" Projects, examples of architectural design solutions that protect and enhance the environment. This year's winners included projects designed for the federal government, large and small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals-proving the environmental, social, and economic benefits of sustainable design for clients of any size.

The program, begun in 1998, recognizes projects that address significant environmental challenges with designs that integrate architecture, technology, and natural systems. Projects are evaluated for their contributions to their site's and existing ecosystems, connections to the surrounding community, use of high-performance technologies, energy use, and sensitive use of materials and resources.

Sustainable design is increasingly acknowledged -- by architects, their consultants, their clients, and the public -- as an important characteristic of quality architecture. In the four years since the Top Ten Green Projects awards program was started, numerous projects have been realized as American firms ascended a learning curve. Winning projects in this year's groups come from firms that are well known for their leadership in sustainable design, as well as several that are just beginning to utilize sustainable principles in their approach to projects.

This award and the range of submissions it fields are representative of the growing market transformation under way in this country and around the world. Corporations and other organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of sustainable design-to people, the environment, and to the bottom line. Financial benefits are realized through energy and cost-of-operations savings as well as reduced absenteeism and greater productivity in some settings.

The AIA Committee on the Environment represents more than 5,000 AIA architects committed to making sustainable design integral to the practice of architecture. The Top Ten "Green" Projects initiative was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. Selected projects include new construction and renovation of office, residential, academic, civic, and institutional facilities.

Winners include the 7,500-square-foot Bank of Astoria building in Manzanita, Oregon, which benefits from daylighting, on-site storm-water retention, and natural ventilation and cooling; Edificio Malecon, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a 125,000-square-foot office building was built on a reclaimed brownfield site; and Pier 1 in San Francisco, which turned a dilapidated waterfront warehouse into 140,000 square feet of prime office space and an acre of new public open space.

More information on the winning projects can be found at www.aia.org/pia/cote/topten.