COTE Green Awards
After many years of struggling against professional and political apathy in the United States, energy conservation and sustainability ideals may be finally receiving the attention they deserve. In the past four years, acceptance of environmental values has been reflected in the growing numbers of projects nominated the "Top Ten Green Projects" awards program of the American Institute of Architects' Committee on the Environment (COTE). Architects, their clients, and the general public are increasingly appreciating environmentally sensitive architecture for both its economic and ethical importance.
COTE has named ten projects that are exemplary in their integration of architecture, technology, and natural systems. A jury evaluated the buildings for their contributions to the ecosystem, connections to the surrounding community, use of high-performance technologies, energy use, and sensitive use of materials and resources.
The San Francisco firm SMWM was recognized for its work on Pier 1, an adaptive reuse of a dilapidated waterfront warehouse converted to office space. Water flows through radiant tubes in floor slabs for both heating and cooling. This system responds to the thermal loads of different zones within the building and moderates the interior climate accordingly. Internally generated heat is rejected into a submerged condenser water loop under the building, dissipating energy into the bay within a tightly prescribed temperature range.
Minnesota architect Sarah Nettleton transformed a 1947 cabin into a 950-square-foot (88-square-meter) retreat using long-lasting materials such as locally quarried granite. Trees shelter the cabin from winter winds yet open it to sun and wind from the east and south. Natural stack ventilation through low and high windows cools the cabin. An air-to-air heat exchanger provides ventilation. A super-insulated thermal envelope minimizes the load on the geothermal heat pump in-floor heating system.
Edificio Malecon is a 125,000-square-foot (11,600-square-meter) office building designed for a reclaimed brownfield site in Buenos Aires, Argentina. American firm HOK oriented the long, narrow building east-west to minimize solar gain on the structure. The broad northern face, the primary solar exposure, is shaped to track the sun, and its deep sunshades virtually eliminate direct solar radiation during peak cooling months. A "green roof" helps insulate the podium from solar radiation and manages stormwater runoff.
These and seven other projects receiving the honor are featured on the COTE Web site. Some of them, including the Puget Sound Environmental Learning Center, the National Wildlife Federation Headquarters, the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, and the Bank of Astoria, Oregon, have already been featured in ArchitectureWeek.
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Pier 1 is SMWM's adaptive reuse of a dilapidated warehouse on San Francisco Bay.
Photo: Richard Barnes
A cabin in Tofte, Minnesota, sustainably renovated by Sarah Nettleton Architects.
Photo: Peter Kerze
Edificio Malecon is an office building designed by HOK for a reclaimed brownfield site in Buenos Aires.
Photo: Daniela Mac, Adden Photography
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