2014’s ten most innovative sustainable buildings

05 May 2014

From a net-zero energy historic courthouse in Colorado to a homeless centre in Oregon filled with green space, today the best sustainable architecture goes far beyond a few rooftop solar panels.

Sustainable architecture is no longer rare. From 2005 to 2012, the number of new green building designs jumped 39%.
So when there’s an award for the best sustainable architecture, it’s no longer enough to have just a few ad hoc features, like rooftop solar panels or a rainwater collection system. A new roundup of the top 10 current examples of sustainable architecture – selected by the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment – showcase projects that have a “thoroughly integrated” approach to sustainable design.

Bushwick Inlet Park

“This year, we saw a movement towards very urban, complicated large-scale projects,” says Catherine Gavin, a jury member. “Architects are working on everything from locating buildings near public transportation to restoring surrounding natural areas. We were looking for buildings that were really thinking about the entire site, and how a building integrates into its context, rather than thinking of a building as an individual entity.”

John and Frances Angelos Law Centre

Each of the buildings is also well-designed aesthetically. “I think AIA is really trying to help people realise that good design doesn’t have to be sacrificed to attain a sustainable building,” Gavin says. “It’s the same conversation–a sustainable building and a well-designed building.”

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