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 2008


Aldo Leopold Legacy Center


Baraboo, WI

The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.


The headquarters for the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the Legacy Center includes office and meeting spaces, an interpretive hall, an archive, and a workshop organized around a central courtyard. Built where Leopold died fighting a brush fire in 1948, the Legacy Center also provides a trailhead to the original Leopold Shack.

The native landscaping requires no irrigation. Waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and efficient faucets reduce water consumption by 65%. An on-site well provides potable water, and an existing septic system treats wastewater.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1--Level: Platinum (61 points)

Zero Energy Building

Cesar Chavez Library

Laveen, AZ

Line and Space, LLC



The Cesar Chavez Library is integrated into a park made of mounded earth adjacent to a large constructed lake—a remnant from mid-20th century water attitudes. Unlike climates that will have rain every week, the desert is a unique circumstance that requires special consideration of water as well as energy conservation.

The desert environment presented several challenges that created opportunities for green building strategies: extensive overhangs protect the building from solar heat gain and glare, window walls provide daylighting and views to the outdoors, roof-top rainwater collection provides water for irrigation, and low-flow fixtures indoors limit potable water use, and to lessen cooling needs, the building was built into the site and bermed with excavated earth.

Discovery Center at South Lake Union

Seattle, WA

The Miller|Hull Partnership


This modular "pavilion in the park" was designed to be demountable and transportable for future disassembly and reassembly at multiple future locations. Its first use was for an exhibit telling the story of Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood—its past, present, and future.

Presentation centers for residential developments such as this one typically have very short lifespans, since they disappear after construction is complete and the units sold. The modular nature of the project will allow it to serve for a much longer period of time. The building separates at three integrated joints to break into four separate modules capable of being transported along surface streets, where the building may resume functioning in its current capacity or be reprogrammed for an entirely new use.

Garthwaite Center for Science & Art

Weston, MA

Architerra, Inc.


The Garthwaite Center at the Cambridge School of Weston houses laboratory classrooms for biology, chemistry, and physics; lab prep rooms; faculty offices; meeting space; a science display atrium; a large community gathering gallery; a small, secure art gallery; an integrated studies classroom; independent study space; and a campus data center.

In addition to focusing on its environmental goals, the project team had to contend with space and budgetary requirements. The site consisted of sloping bedrock, and the school wanted to preserve existing trees. In addition, the building had to accommodate all-school art shows, blend in with the existing campus, and create a popular student space on campus.

Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life

New Orleans, LA



Tulane University's new university center embodies the environmental goals not only of its designers, but also of the students, faculty, and administrators at the school. The new center is built on the same site as the old university center, which was stripped to its concrete structure, expanded by 33%, and redesigned with a variety of environmental systems.

Unlike the old university center, which was mechanically cooled year-round, the new building was designed to be passively cooled for five months out of the year. Balconies, canopies, shading systems, and courtyards create layered spaces while permitting variable exchanges of air, light, and activities.

Macallen Building Condominiums

Boston, MA

Office dA

Burt Hill


The Macallen Building, a 140-unit condominium building in South Boston, was designed to incorporate green design as a way of marketing a green lifestyle while at the same time increasing revenue from the project. Located in a primarily industrial area among highways, train and bus routes, and an international airport, the site presented challenges for the project team tackling air and noise pollution, addressing the urban heat-island effect, and creating local green space.

The green building features include innovative technologies that will save over 600,000 gallons of water annually while consuming 30% less electricity than a conventional building.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 -- Level: Gold (41 Points)

Nueva School

Hillsborough, CA

Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects


Founded in 1967, the Nueva School is a private K-8 school serving 370 students. The school's mission is to inspire passion for lifelong learning, foster social acuity, and develop each child's imaginative mind, enabling students to learn how to make choices that will benefit the world.

The Hillside Learning Complex includes three buildings—a library and media center, a student center, and a classroom building with administrative offices, seven classrooms, and an R&D lab—which are organized around a central plaza. The project's contribution to the urban heat-island effect is reduced through the use of green roofs, covered parking, and high-albedo paving.

U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2.2 -- Level: Gold (45 points)

Pocono Environmental Education Center

Dingmans Ferry, PA

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson


The Pocono Environmental Education and Visitor Center is designed to reinforce the organization's mission of environmental stewardship and education.

The building is a flexible, multipurpose gathering space for dining, meetings, lectures, and other environmental learning activities. The building is designed to serve as a teaching tool for environmental education. Overall, the building was designed to be resource and energy efficient, both from a first-cost standpoint and from an operational one, due to the tight budgetary constraints of this small environmental center.

Queens Botanical Garden Visitor Center

Flushing, NY

BKSK Architects

The Queens Botanical Garden is located on 39 acres of land owned by New York City, the legacy of the 1939 and 1964 World's Fairs. It is open to the public, and admission is free.

The Visitor and Administration Center was designed to celebrate the relationship between diverse cultures and the environment and to showcase water management, landscape integration, and energy conservation and generation. The reception building's long, narrow shape is oriented along an east-west axis, allowing daylight to penetrate all interior spaces. An efficient lighting system, daylight dimming, and occupancy sensors reduce energy consumption. Glass doors and windows open in temperate weather, providing natural ventilation. The building uses photovoltaic panels and a ground-source heat-pump system to harvest energy on site.

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

Yale Sculpture Building and Gallery

New Haven, CT

KieranTimberlake Associates



The Yale Sculpture Building and Gallery complex includes three new buildings: the four-story Sculpture Building, the one-story storefront gallery, and a four-story parking garage. The Gallery and parking structure reestablish the block's perimeter, while the Sculpture Building acts as a lantern, illuminating the core.

Located on a former brownfield site, the project reclaims a formerly derelict parking lot for the community. Five bus lines stop within walking distance of the site, and the project features bicycle stalls and showers. The Sculpture Building's interior spaces feature utilitarian, unfinished surfaces with exposed steel structures. The sunscreens on the Gallery are made of reclaimed cedar, and the project team sought out regional materials.

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

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