Nineteen years of the COTE Top Ten, a retrospective report

Lessons From The Leading Edge


Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Ballard Library and neighborhood center, Seattle, WA

Since 1997, the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) has poured through dozens of submissions each year to find 10 projects at the epicenter of both beautiful and sustainable design. The aptly named Top Ten that emerges is the gold standard for green design excellence. What no one has done, however, is examine these award recipients for commonalities. What binds them together? Has the evaluation process changed over time? And what progress has the profession made since this program's inception?

Enter a team led by Lance Hosey, FAIA. Hosey is a member of the COTE Advisory Group and he set out to document the evolution of this program and its recognized projects. The result is Lessons from the Leading Edge, a detailed report on 19 years of the COTE Top Ten.

Key findings include:

  • The size of top-of-the-line sustainable projects is growing.
  • The West Coast is sustainability's home turf, but D.C. holds its own.
  • It is not just office buildings anymore.
  • The COTE Top Ten is bleeding into the AIA Honor Awards.

Download the full report

Lessons from the Leading Edge

Image credits


Nic Lehoux