No. 241 . 25 May 2005 
ArchitectureWeek
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AIA Green Building Awards 2005

by ArchitectureWeek

In recognition of Earth Day in April 2005, The American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) announced the recipients of their annual awards program honoring "green" buildings that protect and enhance the environment.

In a break with tradition, due to a procedural mix-up, the annual "Top Ten Green" awards went to only eight buildings this year. But, as always, the COTE awards honor a diversity of projects that meet environmental challenges by integrating architecture, technology, and natural systems, while making a positive contribution to their community.

According to the COTE jury, "There were a few [submitted] projects with great performance but not good design... the projects we chose were examples of how a project can be both green and have good design." The award recipients were evaluated on several dimensions — land use, water and energy conservation, materials, etc. — and each project's performance on these measures are explained at length on the AIA's COTE Web site.

One of the selected buildings is the Seminar II classroom building for The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, designed by Mahlum Architects. The college is known for its rigorous interdisciplinary teaching and environmental advocacy. To create small "learning communities," Mahlum crafted five semi-independent wings that radiate into the landscape. Learning spaces are organized vertically and shared by the students and staff.

A central open volume promotes daylighting, natural stack ventilation, and visual connections between the academic programs. Outdoor classrooms extend from each lower level out into the landscape. A green roof reduces the building's negative effect on nearby Thornton Creek. Daylighting to all occupied spaces significantly decreases electric lighting loads.   >>>

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