The 2021 Committee on the Environment Award Winners from the American Institute of Architects

One of the most exciting parts of any year in the green building industry is looking through the projects that were recognized by the American Institute of Architects in the Committee on the Environment (COTE) awards. All of these projects are notable for achieving design excellent and environmental performance while adapting to different scales, climate zones and typologies.

What Are the COTE Awards?

This program was created in 1997 to celebrate ten outstanding projects that capture the essence of design excellence and environmental performance. Every award recipient has been graded against the rigorous standards outlined in the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence, which outlines ten different principles that should be reflected in buildings that are good for the environment and good for the people using them every day.

The 2021 Award Winners

This year’s winners were divided amongst different types of buildings and included five higher education buildings, a library, a healthcare clinic, one single-family home and two commercial office buildings. All of them are inspirations to those hoping to continue to see innovation in green building and excellence.

Some of the winners this year included:

  1. Hayden Library Reinvention at Arizona State University. This unique project is particularly notable because it was a reinvention of an existing building and not created from scratch, which can make for more complicated situations. They also did a good job of engaging the community to influence the final design, and it’s impressive to see the finished product flourishing in the hot sun of Arizona.
  2. Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center at Lafayette College. This is a higher education project that combined interesting architectural elements with environmental friendliness. The team designing the building faced many challenges integrating the new sciences center into the existing historical feel of the campus. By thinking critically about daylighting, placement and bird safety, the judges gave this project top marks.
  3. Microsoft Silicon Valley Campus. This massive, sprawling project was another notable winner at the COTE awards this year. Microsoft set standards to ensure that sustainability goals were achieved, and they took a holistic view of the building’s impact on the surrounding area. Public trails, habitats and water management were all mentioned by judges as things that Microsoft did an exceptional job considering. It is great to see companies like Microsoft leading the way in green building by not only focusing on the workers inside of the building, but also the habitats surrounding it and the other people living in the community.

Take a closer look at all of the winners here.

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