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AIA's Earth Day Top Ten

AIA’s Earth Day Top Ten

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (COTE) continued an annual tradition by releasing, on Earth Day, a list of ten architectural design solutions that have a lasting and positive impact on the built and unbuilt environment. Selections were made by COTE’s executive committee based on nominations collected informally over the year. A list with brief descriptions of each project is available from Mike Janes of the AIA Press Office: 202/626-7467,

CCI Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The CCI Center is a 12,000 ft2 (1,100 m2) renovated urban building housing CCI and several other organizations. The project uses allergy-free, nontoxic materials; relies on energy and resource conservation to minimize the impact on the environment; and captures rainwater for terrace, balcony, and site gardens.

Kansas City Zoo Deramus Education Pavilion, Kansas City, Missouri

This pavilion consists of two linked buildings, an IMAX theater building and a “Rite of Passage” building. The complex is designed to blend into its surroundings, utiltizing passive solar design, with operable windows to facilitate natural cross ventilation.

Denver Dry Building, Denver, Colorado



Vol. 7, No. 4)

Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) purchased this defunct department store and partnered with the New York-based Affordable Housing Development Corporation to create a mixed-use development project that has established a strong sense of community in the city.

Duracell Headquarters, Bethel, Connecticut



Vol. 5, No. 4)

A corporate commitment to the environment inspired the integration of “green” strategies, including site planning, landscaping, watershed management, habitat and wildlife, energy conservation, water conservation, building material selection, and waste management into Duracell’s new headquarters.

Georgia Tech Aquatic Center (Olympic Natatorium), Atlanta, Georgia

At the 1996 Olympic Games, the Olympic Natatorium—on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology—was designed to incorporate an energy-producing solar array into an existing building, showcasing advanced technology to a global audience.

McKinney ISD Sustainable Elementary School, McKinney, Texas

The McKinney Sustainable Elementary School Project, slated for completing in July of 2000, incorporates many environmentally friendly design principles, including rainwater collection, daylighting, wind energy, solar energy, geothermal heating and cooling, and the use of recycled building materials. The Raleigh, North Carolina based Innovative Design and

EBN’s Nadav Malin were environmental consultants on this project.

Missouri Historical Society Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

This 92,000 ft2 (8,500 m2) expansion and 37,000 ft2 (3,400 m2) renovation to the Missouri Historical Society’s Museum is a three-level addition, connected to the original 1913 Beaux Arts Jefferson Memorial building by glass corridors and skywalks. Priorities in the design are energy conservation, integration of the designed system with the earth’s ecosystems, use of natural systems wherever possible, and use of natural light.

New York Life Building, Kansas City, Missouri

This project rejuvenated an 1888 Italian Renaissance office building that was noted as the “first skyscraper” in Kansas City at ten stories, the first to use elevators, and the first to use steel design in its structure. Major considerations during the renovation included energy source, material selection, recycling of waste, indoor air quality, and water conservation, as well as daylighting and light control.

Real Goods Solar Living Center, Hopland, California



Vol. 5, No. 1)

The Real Goods Trading Corporation showroom resembles a curved “bird-wing” with stepping roofs where clerestory windows capture the varying hourly and seasonal angles of the sun. Due to the nature of the Real Goods products, energy efficiency and self-sufficiency were top priorities, with focus on integration with the land and the sun.

REI Seattle Flagship Store, Seattle, Washington

The resource-efficient design more than doubles the retail space of the previous store, featuring recycled building materials, a 65-foot-tall (20 m) freestanding climbing pinnacle, mountain bike and boot test trails. An outdoor courtyard waterfall, recharged by stormwater runoff, is landscaped with native Northwest trees and vegetation.

Published May 1, 1999

(1999, May 1). AIA's Earth Day Top Ten. Retrieved from

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