AIA celebrates America's best new sustainable buildings
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Awards offers an opportunity to check out some of the best new sustainable architecture in the country. This year's selection of buildings includes a renovated headquarters for Etsy that incorporates recycled materials and a library with a rainwater collection system.
As in previous years, the 2020 COTE Top Ten Awards consists of recently-completed buildings that AIA's judges feel exemplify design excellence and environmental performance. The buildings can be anywhere in the world, but must be designed by firms that are licensed to practice in the United States – that said, each one of this year's projects is located in the US anyway.
Gensler is a big winner this year, with three buildings designed by the firm. Of these, its Etsy headquarters is a standout for its sustainability.
The project involved the renovation of an existing office building in Brooklyn, New York City. Daylight was maximized inside (a common theme of all this year's COTE Top Ten Awards winners) and a disused water tower on the roof was dismantled so that the wood could be used to create a staircase.
The interior boasts significant greenery, including green walls, to improve the wellbeing of staff, and there are also multiple terrace areas available. Additionally, all required electricity is provided by an off-site solar panel array and rainwater is used for irrigation.
Lake|Flato Architects also has good reason to be pleased as the firm designed two of the buildings featured in the 2020 COTE Top Ten. The Austin Central Library is a standout. Created in collaboration with Shepley Bulfinch, it was previously lauded by AIA for its natural light and has received LEED Platinum certification (a green building standard) due to its energy-efficient design.
Notable sustainable elements include a large roof-based solar panel array which produces over 273,000 kWh of electricity annually and provides shade for visitors to the building's roof garden. A rainwater collection system collects water for irrigation and toilet use, and shading was also carefully situated to reduce solar heat gain.
Head to the gallery to see more on the 2020 COTE Top Ten Awards. Regular readers will recognize some familiar projects, like The Six veteran housing by Brooks + Scarpa and the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, by Gensler.