Architects Name Top 10 Sustainable Designs

The American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) have selected the top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

The 2009 COTE Top Ten Green Projects program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology. They make a 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.

Members of the jury include: Michelle Addington, Yale School of Architecture; Brandy Brooks, Assoc. AIA, Community Design Resource Center of Boston; William Leddy, FAIA, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects; Nadav Malin, BuildingGreen LLC; Kim Shinn, LEED AP, LTLC Engineering for Architecture; and James Timberlake, FAIA, Kieran Timberlake Associates LLP.

"In architecture, performance and aesthetics are inextricably linked. The COTE Top Ten is one of the very few awards that evaluates performance and design," said jury members. "Other awards and organizations look strictly at performance without care for how a building looks."

The following list of projects is a sample of the Top Ten.

Charles Hostler Student Center, Beirut, Lebanon
VJAA
Situated on Beirut's seafront and main public thoroughfare, the new 204,000-square-foot facility includes competitive and recreational athletic facilities, an auditorium, cafeteria with study space, and underground parking for 200 cars.

Gish Apartments, San Jose, Calif.
OJK Architecture and Planning
Gish Apartments is a 35-unit transit-oriented family apartment complex that provides quality affordable housing. The mixed-use plan includes a ground floor 7-Eleven and beauty salon to serve the neighborhood. Gish is the only affordable housing development in the U.S. to receive both LEED for Homes and LEED NC Gold certification.

Great River Energy Headquarters, Maple Grove, Minn.
Perkins+Will
Great River Energy (GRE) is a not-for-profit electric utility cooperative owned by its members. Its headquarters is a 166,000-square-foot, four-story concrete frame and glass curtain wall office building. GRE's new office environment was designed to showcase workplace productivity, energy efficient technologies, and a collaborative culture within the most electric energy-efficient building in the state.

Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Orange, Texas
Lake|Flato Architects
Located on 252 acres, the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center serves primarily as an interpretive center for the site's native ecosystems as well as a facility for study and research. The Nature Center provides hands-on learning opportunities by means of an exhibit called the Nature Discovery Center, a laboratory, and three outdoor classrooms located deep in the cypress swamp. At the beginning of the construction process the property sustained a direct hit from Hurricane Rita, but the team was still able to maintain LEED Platinum standards in the building process by salvaging natural materials, as many fallen trees were either incorporated into the construction of the new facilities or harvested for lumber for other projects.

Synergy at Dockside Green, Victoria, British Colombia
Busby Perkins+Will Architects Co.
Dockside Green is a 1.3-million-square-foot, mixed-use development on a former brownfield site. The first phase, Synergy, includes four buildings constructed over a common underground parking structure. The program for Synergy includes a nine-story residential tower with commercial units on the ground floors, a two-story townhouse building; a six-story building with commercial units on the ground floor and a four-story residential building. The site is bound by roads on the west and north sides, a greenway and creek on the east side, and future development on the south side.

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