Ten awards from the prestigious American Institute of Architects (AIA) for its Council on the Environment (COTE) reveal the best new sustainable architecture in the United States. This year’s highlights include a park offering water lessons and a former steel mill that has been converted into a sustainable power plant.
The 2023 COTE Top Ten Awards include 10 completed buildings. The buildings themselves don’t actually have to be located in the US, just the companies that designed them – yet this year all of them are located in the US.
“The awards, now in their 27th year, recognize design projects that ingeniously combine design excellence with innovative performance in 10 key areas,” said the AIA. solutions provided by health and wellbeing.”
Confluence Park, Lakeside | Flato Architects + Matsys is a highlight. Located along the San Antonio River, it aims to help the public better understand the impact of urban development on watersheds and ecosystems in South Texas.
Located in a former industrial park, the park centers on a pavilion of 22 concrete “petals”. These form a network of vaults that both provide shade to visitors and funnel stormwater into underground storage areas that are then used for the park’s sewage and irrigation needs. A multi-purpose building hosts adjacent park facilities and a classroom/event space leading to the pavilion. The building is topped by a green roof, while photovoltaic arrays provide all of the park’s energy needs.
RIDC Mill 19: Buildings A & B is the work of MSR Design with R3A Architecture and is located in Pittsburgh. The project involved an ambitious renovation plan to transform the disused Pittsburgh Jones & Laughlin Steel Company factory into a sustainable manufacturing research center.
The plant’s steel superstructure now supports a massive 2-megawatt array of solar panels on its roof, which is described As the largest rooftop solar array in the United States, it generates enough electricity to power 380 homes. Other notable features include rainwater recovery and storage systems, focus on natural lighting and ventilation, and energy efficient heating and cooling.
Designed by Weber Thompson, the Watershed, a seven-story office building in Seattle, has undergone extensive renovations to improve its sustainability.The landscaping around it features a series of bio swamp More than 400,000 gallons (approximately 1.5 million liters) of stormwater are filtered each year before being discharged into nearby Lake Union.
The building also collects and stores rainwater for bathrooms and irrigation, while focusing on maximizing ventilation and daylighting, as well as the use of solar panels, all of which help reduce grid-based energy use. A digital dashboard has been installed in the lobby where visitors can see real-time data on their performance.
See more about these and other 2023 COTE Top 10 award projects in the gallery.