Today, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the winners of the 2020 COTE Top Ten Awards, which are conferred by AIA's Committee on the Environment. Each year, the program recognizes 10 projects that integrate design excellence and environmental performance. One winner receives the COTE Top Ten Plus award—an indication of exemplary proven energy performance and post-occupancy results.

This year's winners include 10 government, education, commercial, and community projects across the United States. Gensler received three awards for projects that focus on adaptive reuse and preserving embodied carbon; Lake | Flato received two awards for projects that have a particular focus on community. This year's COTE Top Ten Plus Award winner is LPA's Environmental Nature Center and Preschool, in Newport Beach, Calif., which uses innovative siting to connect the surrounding community to nature.

This year's jury included Bob Berkebile, FAIA, of BNIM; Roy Decker, FAIA, of Duval Decker; William Horgan, Intl. Assoc. AIA, of Grimshaw; Andrea Love, AIA, of Payette; and Vivian Loftness, FAIA, of Carnegie Mellon University.

The Winners:

Cris Costea

COTE Top Ten Plus AwardEnvironmental Nature Center and Preschool, Newport Beach, Calif.

Jury Comment: "It introduces kids to responsible sustainability at a young age and is a place where people will want to send their children. It does all the right things—water, biophilia, resilience, and strong material choices."

Nic Lehoux

Austin Central Library, Austin, Texas
Lake|Flato Architects + Shepley Bulfinch, Joint Venture

Jury Comment: "The interior light-filled atrium has become a living room for the city, open to the community and all constituencies; the space is dynamic and offers many opportunities for citizens to find just the right spot to read, study, meet, or work."

Columbus Land Port of Entry in Columbus, N.M., designed by Richter Architects.
Robert Reck Columbus Land Port of Entry in Columbus, N.M., designed by Richter Architects.

U.S. Land Port of Entry, Columbus, New Mexico
Richter Architects

Jury Comment: "A port of entry is a challenging building type. The designers in this project not only met that challenge, but achieved more by showing us how the architecture of any kind can make human environments healthy and dignified. This is a thoughtful, durable building made to last."

Garrett Rowland

Etsy Headquarters, New York

Jury Comment: "Everything about the inhabitants, the building, and the use of the space are involved in the investment in sustainability as a way of life. This project is a celebration of health and craft and takes an existing fabric and transforms it into something more rewarding. "

Garrett Rowland

Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, New York

Jury Comment: "The new design adds adjustments and changes to its planning that make it more public and equitable. The garden is reestablished as a public oasis that invites the community in, and following the current values of the Ford Foundation, the building makes room for like-minded partners in a more collaborative structure."

Ngoc Doan / STIMSON

John W. Olver Design Building, Amherst, Mass.
Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Jury Comment: "The space is made possible by an innovative wood truss system showing us how to reach beyond the CLT systems to make larger spaces. Its courtyard guarantees views and access to campus to everyone within the building and is well integrated into the larger campus."

Tom Rossiter

Keller Center—Harris School of Public Policy, Chicago
Farr Associates (Design Lead & Architect of Record) and Woodhouse Tinucci Architects (Collaborating Architect, Interior Designer)

Jury Comment: "The opening of the floor plates to create a larger light-filled community atrium makes the interior expansive. This design intervention teaches us an important lesson on how to transform these large floor plate-existing buildings into healthy, desirable, light-filled spaces."

Casey Dunn

Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Miss.
Lake|Flato Architects, in association with Unabridged Architecture

Jury Comment: "The design team’s thoughtful care shows everywhere. The complex is ordered not by an imposition of a construct of some kind, but by finding sites that create minimal damage and that would be above the flood plain and remain inherently resilient."

The Six
Tara Wujcik

The Six, Los Angeles
Brooks + Scarpa

Jury Comment: "The courtyard makes a public protected space and provides a communal harbor for a vulnerable population. Passive strategies are identified at the building and unit scale. The units are light-filled, and the courtyard provides ventilation."

Dror Baldinger, FAIA

UPCycle, Austin, Texas

Jury Comment: "The design team here shows us how to make a great, healthy, sustainable, adaptive reuse project within a crazy tight budget."

Click here to see previous winners of the AIA COTE Top Ten Awards.