AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects for 2009
by Brian Libby
In September 2005, as construction was starting at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Orange, Texas, the property was severely damaged by Hurricane Rita. The building team led by Lake/Flato Architects salvaged storm-felled trees and incorporated them into the new facilities.
Adaptive thinking by the building team is common to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Projects for 2009. This year's ten selections include a private school and an affordable housing development, a town hall, and the headquarters for a regional energy utility.
Two of these ten projects, both LEED Platinum-certified, were recently covered in depth in ArchitectureWeek the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, designed by Ross Barney Architects was a front page story in April, and Synergy, the first phase of the Dockside Green mixed-use development in Victoria, Canada, designed by Busby Perkins + Will, was featured in October 2008.
The Shangri La complex serves as an interpretive center for the site's native ecosystems — including cypress and tupelo swamp, wooded uplands, and prairie lowlands — and also as a study and research facility. It received the still-rare LEED Platinum certification for new construction (LEED-NC).
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