From a historic building turned net-zero-energy case study to student centers and supportive housing that feature intriguing interplay of private and public spaces, high-performance buildings of government agencies, academic institutions, a non-profit organization and a foundation make up the 2014 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects. Named each year by the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE), the Top Ten Green Projects celebrate innovation in sustainable design that thoroughly integrates architecture, natural systems, and technology to protect and enhance the environment. Entries are judged on their design; innovation; community integration; land use; responses to light, air, energy, and water concerns and use; material use and construction; lifespan capabilities; and feedback loops. Projects of all building types are eligible for entry and this year, entrants must have been completed between 2004 and late 2013.

In a year that saw a significant increase in entries, the fact that no private projects were named as winners spoke to the economy of the past few years, when many of the winning projects were built, the jury noted as it concluded deliberations. Also missing from the mix, as in years past, are single family projects—which identifies an area of opportunities for entrants in 2015. While in the past, West Coast locales have occasionally made up a majority of the Top Ten winners, this year's Top Ten represent a range of regions and climate zones from coast to coast, as well as a mix of new construction and existing buildings. The jury—comprising Bill Browning, founder, Terrapin Bright Green; Catherine Gavin, editor, Texas Architect; Tom Simpson, managing principal, Integral Group; Fritz Steiner, dean, School of Architecture, University of Texas; and Jennifer Yoos, FAIA, principal, VJAA—praised projects that incorporated elements of passive survivability, those that not only met ambitious performance predictions but also surpassed them, and those that integrated high-performance design elements in sophisticated, thought-out ways that didn't scream "green." 

The 2014 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects are:

Arizona State University Student Health Building (Tempe, Ariz.)

Lake|Flato Architects and Orcutt|Winslow

Bud Clark Commons (Portland, Ore.)

Holst Architecture

Bushwick Inlet Park (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Kiss + Cathcart Architects

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Headquarters(Los Altos, Calif.)


Edith Green Wendell Wyatt Federal Building Modernization (Portland, Ore.)

SERA Architects and Cutler Anderson Architects

John & Frances Angelos Law Center  (Baltimore)

  Behnisch Architekten and Ayers Saint Gross

SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry (SUNY-ESF) Gateway Center (Syracuse, N.Y.)


Sustainability Treehouse (Glen Jean, W.V.)


Warroad U.S. Land Port of Entry (Warroad, Minn.)

  Snow Kreilich Architects

Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse (Grand Junction, Colo.)

Westlake Reed Leskosky and The Beck Group

This year's competition also included a COTE Top Ten Plus Award, a category introduced last year that recognizes a past COTE Top Ten Green Project for its ongoing performance. To be eligible, projects must provide at least one year of performance data. This year's winner was named as a COTE Top Ten Project in 2012.

COTE Plus: Iowa Utilities Board Office of the Consumer Advocate Office Building (Des Moines, Iowa)


Click through on the names of the Top Ten Green Projects for a more in-depth look at each project, and stay tuned for online profiles of each winning firm. Our extended coverage of this year's winners will continue in the Spring edition of ECOBUILDING Review. Click here for our past coverage of the AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects program.