AIA Unveils Top 10 Green Designs

FRIDAY, MAY 2, 2014

A West Virginia treehouse, a Colorado landmark renovation, and a community for the homeless in Oregon top 10 award-winning examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions.

The Top Ten Green Projects were selected by the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment (COTE). The awards will be presented at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition, scheduled for June 26-28 in Chicago.

Now in its 18th year, the Top Ten Green Projects program is billed as the “profession’s best known recognition program for sustainable design excellence."

In announcing the winners, AIA said the projects reflected an integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technologies.

AIA's descriptions below provide brief summaries of the projects, which are listed in alphabetical order. More information and images are available by clicking the linked project name.

The Top 10

Arizona State University Student Health Services (Tempe, AZ); Lake|Flato Architects + Orcutt|Winslow

This adaptive reuse project transformed a sterile and inefficient clinic into an organized, efficient and welcoming facility. The design imbues the new facility with a sense of health and wellness that leverages Tempe’s natural environment and contributes to a more cohesive pedestrian-oriented campus.

The building’s energy performance is 49 percent below ASHRAE 90.1-2007, exceeding the current target of the 2030 Challenge. The facility achieved LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and is one of the best energy performers on campus, as evidenced by ASU’s Campus Metabolism interactive web-tool tracking real-time resource use.

Bud Clark Commons (Portland, OR); Holst Architecture

Bud Clark Commons

© Sally Schoolmaster

This LEED Platinum certified project is a centerpiece of Portland’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness. The project provides services to help transition homeless individuals toward stable, permanent living arrangements.

The design helps achieve this goal with a walk-in day center with public courtyard and access to support services; a 90-bed temporary shelter; and a separate and secure entrance to 130 efficient, furnished studio apartments for homeless individuals seeking permanent housing.

The building’s design aims to deinstitutionalize services and housing for the city's homeless population. Sustainable features include large-scale graywater recycling; zero stormwater runoff; solar hot water; and a high-performance envelope, resulting in energy savings estimated at $60,000 annually.

Bushwick Inlet Park (Brooklyn, NY); Kiss + Cathcart, Architects

Bushwick Inlet Park

© Paul Warchol

This project is the first phase in the transformation of the Greenpoint–Williamsburg waterfront from a decaying industrial strip to a multi-faceted public park. The design team integrated playfields, public meeting rooms, classrooms, and park maintenance facilities into a city-block -ized site.

One hundred percent of the site is usable to the public and offers views of Manhattan. Below the green roof is a complex of building systems—ground source heat pump wells, rainwater harvest and storage, and drip irrigation. A solar trellis produces half the total energy used in the building.

Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) Federal Building Modernization (Portland, OR); SERA Architects in association with Cutler Anderson Architects


© Nic Lehoux

This project is on track to be one of the lowest energy-use buildings in the United States and serves as a model for the U.S. General Services Administration nationwide.

The goal was to transform the building from an aging energy hog to one of the nation's premiere environmentally friendly facilities. With a unique facade of “reeds,” light shelf /sunshades designed by orientation, and a roof canopy that supports a 180 kW photovoltaic array while collecting rainwater, EGWW pushes the boundaries for innovative sustainable design strategies, AIA said.

The design reveals the history of the building, exposing the artifacts of the original builders.

Gateway Center—SUNY-ESF College of Environmental Science & Forestry (Syracuse, NY); Architerra

Gateway Center- SUNY

© David Lamb Photography

This project is a striking symbol of environmental stewardship and climate action leadership, according to AIA. Certified LEED Platinum, the campus center meets ESF’s goal of reducing its overall carbon footprint through net positive renewable energy production, while creating a combined heat and power plant and intensive green roof that serve as hands-on teaching and research tools.

The double-ended bioclimatic form exemplifies passive solar design. Net positive energy systems integrated with the design serve four adjacent ESF buildings, providing 60 percent of annual campus heating needs and 20 percent of annual power needs.

John & Frances Angelos Law Center (Baltimore, MD); Behnisch Architekten and Ayers Saint Gross

John & Frances Angeles Law Center

© Brad Feinknopf

This is the first large-scale opportunity for the University of Baltimore to demonstrate its intent to pursue strategies that eliminate global warming emissions and achieve climate neutrality.

Thus, the Law Center is a highly sustainable and innovative structure that strives to reduce reliance on energy and natural resources, minimizing its dependence on mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting of interiors.

This is part of a larger comprehensive effort on the part of the architecture and engineering team to approach sustainability from a more holistic vantage point from the outset of the project.

Sustainability Treehouse (Glen Jean, WV); Design Architect: Mithun; Executive Architect/Architect of Record: BNIM

Sustainability Treehouse

© Joe Fletcher

Situated in the forest at the Summit Bechtel Reserve, this interactive, interpretive and gathering facility serves as a unique icon of scouting adventure, environmental stewardship and high-performance building design, according to AIA.

Visitors ascend indoor and outdoor platforms to experience the forest from multiple vantages and engage with educational exhibits that explore the site and ecosystem at the levels of ground, tree canopy, and sky.

Innovative building systems—including a 6,450-watt photovoltaic array output, two 4,000-watt wind turbines, and a 1,000-gallon cistern and water cleansing system—combine to yield a net-zero energy and net-zero water facility that touches its site lightly.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters (Los Altos, CA); EHDD

Packard Foundation

© Jeremy Bittermann

The headquarters acts as a catalyst for broad organizational sustainability and brings staff, grantees and partners together to address some of the world’s most intractable problems. The foundation’s connection to the Los Altos community dates to 1964.

For the last two decades, as its grant-making programs expanded locally and worldwide, staff and operations have been scattered in buildings throughout the city. This project enhances proximity and collaboration while renewing the foundation’s commitment to the community by investing in a downtown project intended to last through the end of the 21st century.

U.S. Land Port of Entry (Warroad, MN); Snow Kreilich Architects Inc.

US Land Port of Entry

© Paul Crosby

This LEED Gold certified Land Port of Entry is the first to employ a ground source heat pump system. Sustainably harvested cedar was used on the entire exterior envelope, canopies and some interior walls, and 98 percent of all wood on the project is FSC certified. Additionally, 22 percent of the material content came from recycled materials, and 91 percent of all work areas have access to daylight.

Rainwater collection, reconstructed wetlands and native plantings address resource and site-specific responses. The facility supports the mission-driven demands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection while addressing the sustainable challenges of our future.

Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse (Grand Junction, CO); Design Architect, Westlake Reed Leskosky and Architect of Record, The Beck Group


© Kevin G. Reeves

This LEED Platinum certified renovation preserves an anchor in Grand Junction and converts a 1918 landmark into one of the most energy efficient, sustainable historic buildings in the country. The design aims to be GSA’s first site net-zero energy facility on the National Register.

Exemplifying sustainable preservation, the project restores and showcases historic volumes and finishes, while sensitively incorporating innovative systems and drastically reducing energy consumption. Features include a roof canopy-mounted 123 kW photovoltaic array; variable-refrigerant flow heating and cooling systems; 32-well passive Geo-Exchange system; a thermally upgraded enclosure; energy recovery; wireless controls;  fluorescent and LED lighting; and post-occupancy monitoring.

The Judges

The 2014 COTE Top Ten Green Projects jurors were Frederick Steiner, School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin; Catherine Gavin, Texas architect; Bill Browning, Hon. AIA, Terrapin Bright Green; Thomas E. Simpson, PE, LEED AP, US East Integral Group; and Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, LEED AP, VJAA.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; American Institute of Architects (AIA); Architecture; Awards and honors; Color + Design; Design; Green building; Green design

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