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AIA California announces winners of ninth annual net-zero design competition

One for the Books

AIA California announces winners of ninth annual net-zero design competition

“Book Garden” by Jensen Architects was one of the winning entrants in Architecture at Zero 2020. This year, the annual competition invited participants to design a zero net energy public library in Central California. (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

The American Institute of Architects, California (AIACA) has unveiled the 2020 winners of Architecture at Zero, a popular annual competition now in its ninth iteration that challenges both professional and student architects to design zero-net-energy (ZNE) buildings. Although an AIACA-organized affair, the competition is open to entrants worldwide.

As outlined by the AIACA, the competition aims to generate fresh, originative ideas for ZNE commercial and residential buildings—that is, buildings that are both energy-efficient and offset any and all energy that they consume through the on-site production of renewable energy. Per the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan, the state has set ambitious targets for all new residential construction to be ZNE by, well, this year, and all new commercial construction to be ZNE by 2030. The state has also set additional goals for retrofits and renovations of existing buildings.

For the 2020 edition of the competition, the AIACA partnered with the San Benito County Free Library in Hollister, a small city in the largely rural Monterey Bay Area of Central California. Competition participants were asked to produce speculative designs for the library. Previous competitions have challenged entrants to design ZNE collegiate rec centers, science centers, student housing, and more.

“San Benito County residents are excited to explore ideas for a new 21st-century library that meets the needs of this diverse community,” said county librarian Nora Conte in a statement. “The Library is thrilled to partner with AIACA and participants from around the world to develop zero net energy library designs.”

Here’s a look at this year’s winners, which collectively received $25,000 in prize money.

Professional Winners

“THE BRANCH” by DIALOG + Byrens Kim Design Works
“THE BRANCH” by DIALOG + Byrens Kim Design Works (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

Citation Award: “THE BRANCH” by DIALOG + Byrens Kim Design Works (San Francisco/Vancouver and Oakland, California)

A timber framed community center
“Community Currents” by Murphy Burnham and Buttirck Architects (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

Merit Award: “Community Currents” by Murphy Burnham and Buttirck Architects (New York City)

Book Garden” by Jensen Architects (San Francisco)
“Book Garden” by Jensen Architects (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

Honor Award: “Book Garden” by Jensen Architects (San Francisco)

Student Merit Award winners

TO GATHER” by TO GATHER” by a team from Cankaya University
“TO GATHER” from Cankaya University (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

“TO GATHER” by a team from Cankaya University in Ankara, Turkey

“Atrial Creep” Wroclaw University
“Atrial Creep” from Wroclaw University (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

“Atrial Creep” by a team from Wroclaw University in Poland

“Meraki” CEPT Universit
“Meraki” from CEPT University (Courtesy Architecture at Zero)

“Meraki” by a team from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, India