Today, the AIA New York Committee on the Environment announced the winners of its third annual AIANY COTE Awards. The four winning projects—all located in densely populated areas within 200 miles of Manhattan’s Central Park—were determined to be exemplars of socially and environmentally responsible urban design.

Ranging from a modest public park facility to a multi-story public health institute, this year’s recipients were selected based upon a comprehensive set of criteria designed to showcase the full breadth of the architectural process, from community engagement to post-occupancy.

The awards program, which is modeled after the nearly two-decades-old COTE National Awards, aims at making sustainable design processes transparent through diverse metrics that demonstrate an innovative approach towards resiliency, local site response, passive design, water conservation, energy flow, materials and construction, as well as flexibility and adaptability.

According to Ilana Judah, Principal, Director of Sustainability at FXFOWLE and former co-chair of the AIA New York Committee on the Environment, the chapter's program was a response to a consistent lack of regional representation in the national awards. “We thought it would be a good way to elevate the National COTE Awards locally, and also to address some of the unique circumstances of being in a high-density, urban environment,” she says.   

This year’s two honor awards went to the LEED Platinum-certified George Washington Milken Institute of Public Health in Washington, D.C., designed by Payette, and the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground in Staten Island, which will be the first net-zero-energy school in the northeast. Merit awards were given to the Perkins+Will and Michael Fieldman Architects-designed New York Police Academy in Queens, and the Washington Square Park House, which comprises public restrooms, offices, and storage for the Manhattan park, designed by BKSK Architects.

Judah noted that the AIA is looking to make the submission of metrics part of its annual Design Awards program. “The ultimate goal is that there should not be separate awards. As the metrics become more commonplace, we’re trying to elevate the quality of design and sustainability in design awards,” she says.

The 2016 recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony at the Center for Architecture on November 1. Included will be presentations by the winning teams and a discussion between the jurors and winners. “There is always value in this discussion,” says Judah.“We can learn how New York is evolving in terms of sustainability."