AIA announces the 2024 COTE Award winners

Fine Nine

AIA announces the 2024 COTE Award winners

MASS Design Group's new campus for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund emphasizes conservation and local engagement, providing research centers and housing for students and staff. (Iwan Baan)

The AIA’s 2024 Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Awards highlighted nine projects from past recipients including Lake|Flato, VMDO, and Bruner / Cott as well as new winners such as Noll & Tam and MASS Design Group. Common themes among this year’s winners include net-zero projects, all-electric energy use, an emphasis on prioritizing daylight and space efficiency, and community engagement throughout the design process. 

Described by the AIA as the “industry’s best-known award program for sustainable design excellence,” the COTE Top Ten program annually selects projects that reach the AIA Committee on the Environment’s criteria for “social, economic, and ecological value” across ten design categories: Integration, Equitable Communities, Ecosystems, Water, Economy, Energy, Well-being, Resources, Change, and Discovery. The projects were announced at an event held last week at the National Building Museum to close out the 2024 AIA Conference on Architecture & Design in Washington, D.C.

Projects must have been completed at least one year prior to the submission deadline and any U.S. licensed architect may enter. Although projects may be located anywhere in the world, this year’s farthest flung hails from Rwanda. 

This year’s jury was chaired by MCHarry Associates’s Nadine Saint-Louis who also serves as co-chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at the AIA Miami. Saint-Louis was backed by YNL Architects’s design director Yu-Ngok Lo; EHDD’s director of climate strategy Jack Rusk; and building performance leader at Mott Macdonald, Eddy Santosa.

The 2024 COTE Top Ten Awards recognized a number of education facilities, among these three university buildings, one elementary school, one library, and one conservation and research center. Other winning projects include a museum, commercial office space, and affordable housing. There are two LEED Platinum—certified projects and one LEED Gold—certified project. 

See below for the full list of winners, and the COTE Awards page for detailed information on each project. At the closing event for the conference, projects from other AIA award programs were also recognized and can be read here.

Alice West Fleet Elementary School | VMDO Architects (Arlington, Virginia)

VMDO Architects transformed a surface parking lot into a net-zero and LEED Gold–certified, six-story elementary school. (Alan Karchmer)

Hayward Library & Community Learning Center | Noll & Tam Architects (Hayward, California)

Noll & Tam’s net-zero library prioritizes water conservation, saving more than 500,000 gallons of water annually. (Bruce Damonte Photography)

MASS MoCA Building 6 | Bruner / Cott Architects (North Adams, Massachusetts)

In designing the MASS MoCA Building 6, Bruner / Cott simultaneously addressed contamination concerns and added more than 130,000 square feet of exhibition space. (Michael Moran)

PAE Living Building | ZGF Architects (Portland, Oregon)

ZGF Architects’s PAE Living Building—a commercial office space—is the first developer-driven Living Building in the world, generating 108 percent of its energy needs on-site. (Lara Swimmer)

The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund | MASS Design Group (Kinigi, Musanze, Rwanda)

This partnership between MASS Design Group and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund yielded a campus which fulfilled the fund’s research and education needs, provided housing for students, staff, and researchers, and promoted the region’s biodiversity. (Iwan Baan)

The Tom and Ruth Harkin Center at Drake University | BNIM (Des Moines, Iowa)

BNIM’s center for Drake University is home to The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement and wholly embodies universal and inclusive design. (Kelly Callewaert)

Thurston Hall Renovation | VMDO Architects (Washington, D.C.)

VMDO Architects’s renovation of the 70-year-old Thurston Hall used existing building foundations to address student needs with an emphasis on promoting mental health. (Alan Karchmer)

USG Biomedical Sciences & Engineering Education Building | Lake|Flato Architects (Rockville, Maryland)

Lake|Flato’s LEED Platinum–certified building features study, research, and teaching spaces, as well as on-site community wellness and outreach resources. (Brad Feinknopf)

Pacific Landing Affordable Housing | Patrick Tighe Architecture (Santa Monica, California)

At Pacific Landing Affordable Housing, Patrick Tighe transformed a former gas station into a 100 percent affordable housing project for people living with disabilities and with limited incomes. (Chuen Wu)