2017 AIANY COTE Awards

The AIANY Committee on the Environment (COTE) Awards recognize results-oriented achievements in the urban context. Winning submissions demonstrate processes that culminate in beautiful, timeless, and measurable design.

The awards will further sustainable design in the architectural profession, make transparent lessons learned, and reveal the process behind true innovation in an urban context. Established in 2014 by the AIA New York Committee on the Environment, the program seeks to redefine how design excellence is evaluated. By honoring innovative projects, we provide a collective resource to all firms looking to achieve socially and environmentally responsible design.

Connecting the individual experience to a greater context and purpose has always been the role of architecture. Climate change, political stability, energy and water independence, and human health are all responsibilities of the design community. These challenges present new opportunities to enrich the profession—to generate positive impact in the world we build. The AIANY COTE Awards recognize design that brings us closer to solving critical issues facing our communities as achieving the highest level of intention possible in the field of architecture.

“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims. [The challenge is] to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time, with spontaneous cooperation and without ecological damage or disadvantage of anyone.” —Buckminster Fuller

All submissions must be received by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on Friday, September 22nd, 2017 [Deadline Extended]. Winners will be announced Tuesday, October 17, 2017 and will be asked to present their projects at the Center for Architecture at 6:00pm on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017.

All projects must be located within an L4, L5 or L6 transect as defined by the Living Building Challenge and within 200 miles of Central Park, as the crow flies. Architects licensed in the U.S. are invited to submit regardless of project size, budget, style, or building type. Entries are welcome and encouraged from both established and new practitioners.

Projects must be built and completed after January 1, 2012 and for at least three months prior to the submission deadline. “Completion” is synonymous with “substantial completion,” as defined in the standard AIA documents governing construction. It is strongly encouraged that projects include a minimum of one (1) year of operational performance data (energy and water).

The entry is to be submitted by the architect (design architect or architect of record.)

The submitting architect may qualify as a member of a design team, whether or not serving as the head of the team. When one architect is not the sole author, all other participants contributing substantially to the design of the project must be given credit as part of the submission, regardless of professional discipline. Project authorship must remain anonymous during jury deliberations. If authorship is revealed on any submission materials—images, plans, or narrative—the entry will be disqualified. A project that credits any 2016 AIANY COTE AWARDS jury member or their firm as architect, associate architect, consultant, or client is ineligible and will be disqualified if submitted.

Entries from firms that have signed onto the AIA 2030 Commitment will be favorably weighted in the judging. Firms can sign onto the AIA 2030 Commitment via the following link.

Registration is required for each project submitted. Registration opens Tuesday, June 6, 2017. All registration and payments must be made online.

The awards will favor projects that can demonstrate the full breadth of their process, including images of design and community engagement meetings, draft diagrams, early design development, and post-occupancy collateral.
The following is a framework to help guide each team’s submission. The submission is not required to meet all aspects of each criterion. It is encouraged to demonstrate how the project performs above and beyond what is described in the document. Several criteria ask for specific metrics, to be input directly into fields on the project registration page. Further guidance on the categories and metrics can be found in this Guidance Document.

Up to three winners will be announced, with honorable mentions awarded at the discretion of the jury. The awarded projects will receive significant recognition, including acknowledgement in AIANY publications and electronic media. Recipients will be asked to give a short presentation about their project at AIANY’s Center for Architecture on November 15, 2017. Recipients may be asked by the AIANY communications department or by various media representatives for additional information about their projects. All submitted materials will become property of AIANY.

An architect or firm may submit more than one project, but each project requires payment of a separate, non-refundable registration fee. $100 AIA members | $200 non-members.

For more information, please visit the competition website here.

Sponsored by:


June 6, 2017 - Launch
September 17, 2017 - Submission Deadline
October 17, 2017 - Winners Announced
November 15, 2017 - Winners Presentation


Thom Mayne
Partner, Morphosis Architects

Claire Weisz, FAIA
Partner, WXY

William Menking
Editor-in-Chief, The Architect's Newspaper

Jonathan F. P. Rose
President, Jonathan Rose Companies

Lisa Matthiessen, FAIA, LEED Fellow
Sustainability Expert, Matthiessen Consulting & Urban Fabric



Honor Awards:

Project: George Washington Milken Institute of Public Health
Architects: Payette in association with Ayers Saint Gross

Project: The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Merit Awards:

Project: New York Police Academy
Architects: Perkins+Will with Michael Fieldman Consulting Architects

Project: Washington Square Park House
Architect: BKSK Architects


Honor Awards:

Project: Weeksville Heritage Center
Architect: Caples Jefferson Architects

Project: Via Verde - The Green Way
Architect: Grimshaw Architects and Dattner Architects

Project: NYC Passive House + Net Zero Rowhouse Prototype
Architect: Paul A. Castrucci, Architect

Honorable Mentions:

Project: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center Renovation
Architects: FXFOWLE Epstein

Project: Tighthouse Project
Architects: Fete Nature Architecture, PLLC

Project: Creston Avenue Residence
Architects: Magnusson Architecture and Planning, PC


Honor Award: 

Project: Kohler Environmental Center,
Architect: RAMSA (Robert AM Stern Architects)

Merit Award:

Project: Whole Foods, Brooklyn
Architect: BL Compaies

Honorable Mention:

Bushwick Inlet Park, Kiss + Cathcart Architects



Entries must be submitted at the following link. If more than one architecture firm worked on the project, name each firm and describe each firm’s role. Submission is an 8 step process:

  1. Register
  2. Enter information on project leads
  3. Upload One 15 page 11x17 15MB PDF which includes:
    -  project summary and overview
    - 10 200 words statements about each of the 10 categories.
    - All entries are to be identified only by an auto generated, 6-character unique identity code, issued at registration. Any identifying mark that could lead to disclosure of the entrant’s identity will be a ground for disqualification. Each page of the submission should include the code on the lower right hand corner.
  4. Submit Project information
    - Project Location (Municipality, State, Zip code)
    - Distance from New York City (From the center of Central Park, as the crow flies
    - Date of Substantial Completion
    - Gross Square Footage (#)
    - Number of Stories (#)
    - Primary Building Program
    - Climate Zone (#)
    - Annual Hours of Operation (#)
    - Firm signed the AIA 2030 Commitment (Y/N)
  5. Enter Specific Metrics required for the 7 applicable categories inputted
  6. Confirm that your project follows the requirements
  7. Pay registration fee
  8. Submit project


Project submissions should provide a short, written narrative in response to the categories listed in the awards criteria section, and include project images or diagrams combined into a single PDF. The file should be no more than 15 pages and 15 MB in size (see details below). The emphasis should be placed on graphics that best inform the jurors about the innovative sustainable design process and solutions that have been developed. Project metrics are to be entered directly into the submittals website.

Document Details:

  • A maximum of 15 pages (landscape Tabloid/Ledger; 11″ high x 17″ wide) is permitted. The font size should be no smaller than 10 point.
  • There are a total of 10 judging categories listed in the awards criteria section. Each should be addressed on a maximum of two sheets. No two criteria should be on the same sheet.
  • Each PDF sheet should consist of narrative text and images/illustrations/analysis per entrant’s preferred layout. The text should not exceed 200 words per category. There is no maximum limit for images.
  • PDF files should be compiled and saved as one single document.
  • All entries are to be identified only by an auto-generated, 6-character unique identity code, issued at registration. Any identifying mark that could lead to disclosure of the entrant’s identity will be a ground for disqualification. Each page of the submission should include the code on the lower right hand corner.
  • The language of the competition is English.
  • Please provide references as needed in the following format.
  • E.g. Author(s), (Year of publication – in brackets), Title of publication- in italics, Edition, Publisher.
  • All dimensions and analyses to be in Imperial units.
  • The submitted documents must not be password protected or encrypted.
  • All fonts used must be embedded in the submitted documents.
  • All images should be in RGB.
  • All submissions are entirely online. No submissions by post or courier are accepted.
  • Specific content of the submission can be found in the awards criteria section.
  • For the submittal template click here.



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