The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment announced this year’s recipients for its highest honor, the COTE Top Ten Awards. Complete details for each project are available on AIA’s website.

COTE bestows the award annually on 10 design projects that have expertly integrated design excellence with cutting-edge performance in ten key areas. The COTE Top Ten winning projects illustrate the solutions architects provide for the health and welfare of our communities and planet.

In order to be eligible, project submissions are required to demonstrate alignment with COTE’s rigorous criteria, 10 measures that include social, economic, and ecological values. The five-member jury evaluates each project submission based on the effectiveness of their holistic design solution and metrics associated with the 10 measures. This year’s COTE Top Ten Awards recipients are as follows:

  • Austin Central Library, Austin, Texas | Lake|Flato Architects + Shepley BulfinchJoint Venture
  • U.S. Land Port of Entry, Columbus, New Mexico | Richter Architects
  • Etsy Headquarters, New York | Gensler
  • Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, New York | Gensler
  • John W. Olver Design Building, Amherst, Massachusetts | Leers Weinzapfel Associates
  • Keller Center - Harris School of Public Policy, Chicago | Farr Associates(Design Lead & Architect of Record) and Woodhouse Tinucci Architects(Collaborating Architect, Interior Designer)
  • Marine Education Center at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi | Lake|Flato Architects in association with Unabridged Architecture
  • The Six, Los Angeles | Brooks + Scarpa
  • UPCycle, Austin, Texas | Gensler

Jurors also designated one project as a Top Ten Plus recipient for its exceptional post-occupancy performance data. This year's recipient is:

  • Environmental Nature Center and Preschool, Newport Beach, California | LPA, Inc.

Visit AIA’s website for more information on the COTE Top Ten Awards program. 

In conjunction with COTE, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) has selected the COTE Top Ten for Students, honoring exceptional student design projects showcasing innovation in sustainability.  View the winning designs on ACSA’s website.

“The students being honored should be commended for their work and design intelligence. They provide great hope that future architects will have the skills and solutions to make our world better by integrating beautiful design with equitable climate action for human and ecological health,” said Julie Hiromoto, AIA, chair of COTE. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how necessary and valuable innovative design solutions are for healthy built environments.”

Since committing to environmental stewardship last year, architects have made notable progress in the climate action fight. Visit AIA’s website to learn more about all the climate action progress being made, including our first Climate Action Plan.