AIA Top 10


Case studies are currently organized by project type. In the future, you will be able to search the case studies database by a variety of criteria, including by cross-referenced building materials listed on Green Building Pages and by key sustainable design and construction features.


 AIA Top 10 2007


EpiCenter, Artists For Humanity


Boston, MA



Artists For Humanity (AFH) was founded in 1991 with a mission to bridge economic, racial, and social divisions and provide underserved youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts. Its new urban headquarters, the EpiCenter, provides fine and commercial art studios and a 5000 ft2 (465 m2) gallery space used to show student art; the gallery is also rented out for events.

The EpiCenter is a simple, functional building that achieves the highest levels of sustainability on a tight budget. The building uses energy and water efficiently, incorporates recycled materials, makes full use of natural daylight, and promotes the health of its occupants. The EpiCenter also offers an opportunity to build public awareness of sustainable, economic, and environmental principles among the immediate community and beyond.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 -- Level: Platinum (53 points)

Global Ecology Research Center

Stanford, CA

EHDD Architecture



Global Ecology Research Center at Stanford University is an extremely low-energy laboratory and office building for the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The mission of the new Department of Global Ecology is to conduct basic research on the interactions between the earth's ecosystems, land, atmosphere, and oceans.

From the Global Ecology researchers' perspective, the most pressing environmental issues are global climate change, biodiversity, and water issues. The client encouraged the design team to reduce carbon impacts and address biodiversity and water issues while providing laboratory and research spaces that meet the highest standards of comfort and performance. This focus resulted in a 72% reduction in carbon emissions associated with building operation and a 50% reduction in embodied carbon for building materials.

Government Canyon Visitor Center

Helotes, TX

Lake|Flato Architects


Government Canyon Visitor Center forms the gateway to the 8,600-acre Government Canyon State Natural Area. It includes an exhibit hall, a park store, classrooms, offices, and an outdoor pavilion.

The design team aimed to minimize impacts on the landscape and fragile water resources and to do more with less. The structures make extensive use of local and regional materials while evoking the historic uses of the former ranch site. The main exhibit space was built using materials and technologies traditionally used by ranchers in cattle pens and fencing, while the stone walls echo the historic stone fences found on the site.

Hawaii Gateway Energy Center

Kailua-Kona, HI

Ferraro Choi And Associates


The Hawaii Gateway Energy Center (HGEC) visitor complex, situated on the south coast of Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, serves the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii (NELH). It is the first building to be constructed on a 6.5 acre campus designed to house research, development, and demonstration facilities for energy and technological fields.

HGEC is designed as a thermal chimney, capturing heat and creating air movement using only building form and thermodynamic principles. Outside air is moved through the building at a rate of 10 to 15 air changes per hour without the use of a mechanical system. The building orientation and configuration allow daylighting to eliminate the need for electric lighting during daylight hours. All glazing is shaded to prevent direct solar gain.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 -- Level: Platinum (52 points)

Zero Energy Building

Heifer International Headquarters

Little Rock, AR

Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects, Ltd.


An organization dedicated to alleviating world hunger, Heifer International begins its interaction with communities by delivering one animal to one family. Like a drop of water generates ripples flowing outward from the impact point, the animal creates concentric rings of influence through a village, allowing knowledge and opportunity to be passed to others as the animal's offspring are gifted.

The building was designed to use up to 55% less energy than a conventional office building and to last for at least 100 years. Materials were selected for their durability, maintainability, low toxicity, recycled content, and regional availability.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 -- Level: Platinum (52 points)

Sidwell Friends Middle School

Washington DC

KieranTimberlake Associates


The master plan for the Sidwell Friends School, a pre-K through 12th-grade Quaker independent school, focuses on meeting programmatic needs for its two campuses in Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland, including the unification of the campuses through coherent landscapes and enhanced pedestrian circulation.

Designed to foster an ethic of social and environmental responsibility in each student, the facility demonstrates a responsible relationship between the natural and the built environment. The building was sited to take advantage of passive solar design. Together with high-efficiency electric lighting, photosensors, and occupancy sensors, daylighting minimizes lighting energy use. Solar-ventilation chimneys, operable windows, and ceiling fans minimize the need for mechanical cooling.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 -- Level: Platinum (57 points)

Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse

Eugene, OR


DLR Group

The Wayne Lyman Morse United States Courthouse serves the District of Oregon as part of the Ninth Judicial Circuit.

Parking is located underground, and the landscaping features native, drought-tolerant plants. Reduced irrigation combined with waterless urinals and low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads reduce the project's water use by more than 40%, compared with a comparable, conventional facility.

The project's energy use was also reduced by approximately 40% through the use of extensive daylighting, shading, high-performance glazing, efficient electric lighting, displacement ventilation, and radiant-floor heating and cooling. At night, air from the building is replaced with ambient air, reducing the cooling load. Materials were selected for their recycled content, regional availability, minimal maintenance needs, and low chemical emissions.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 -- Level: Gold (39 points)

Whitney Water Purification Facility

New Haven, CT

Steven Holl Architects


Designed to provide water to South Central Connecticut, the Whitney Water Purification Facility also features a public park and educational facility. The water purification occurs beneath the park (a 30,000 ft2 green roof), while the operational programs are housed in a 360-foot long stainless steel building that forms a reflective line in the landscape.

This project was designed to demonstrate today's best green design and watershed management practices. The design fuses the architecture of the water purification plant with the landscape to form a public park. The landscape design also enlarged and augmented the existing wetlands—used by migrating birds—with indigenous species. Natural habitats were preserved in the landscape to maintain biodiversity.

Willingboro Master Plan & Public Library

Willlingboro, NJ

Croxton Collaborative Architects, P.C.

The new master plan for the plaza, developed with the help of the community, was designed to remediate the brownfield site and calls for commercial and residential development and the reuse of as many of the existing structures as possible.

As the first building to be constructed in an abandoned area with ground contamination and a history of muggings and drug dealing, the library needed to be the visible banner of the new development plan for the site. A dramatic cantilevered entry canopy provides well-lit and secure pedestrian perimeters and supports the signature marquee of letters visible from the road.

The library uses the structural steel frame and concrete foundations of the original building, a Woolworth's store. Daylighting is the library's defining strategy; the building envelope incorporates multiple clerestory windows and major skylights. The clerestories, which run along the north-south axis, cross with existing structural beams, achieving 95% diffuse light with transitory dappled light effects.

Z6 House

Santa Monica, CA


Ray Kappe Architects


The Z6 House is a single-family residence that was added to a multifamily-zoned lot with an existing duplex. It has four bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The house serves as both a residence and a model home for a line of green, modular, single-family dwellings offered by the owner's business.

A commitment to minimizing the project's ecological footprint informed all aspects of the home's design. The project team used the phrase "six zeroes" to describe the goals of the project: zero waste, zero energy, zero water, zero carbon, zero emissions, and zero ignorance.

To create flexible interior spaces, all bedrooms have moveable wall partitions that can be opened to common areas for more space. Large exterior doors and large expanses of glass connect the inside to the outside, allowing the living space to expand to the outdoors.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Homes v.1 -- Level: Platinum

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