2016-2017 COTE Top Ten for Students

A design competition to recognize student work that displays sustainable design at the highest level. 
Presented by AIA COTE + ACSA.

As today's architecture students move into the profession, they will inherit a rapidly changing world, both in terms of the physical contexts of their work, and the tools, materials and processes available to create it. Preparing students for this challenging, dynamic future calls for greater integration of innovative ecological design thinking within the design discourse of universities across the country.

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE), in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), is pleased to announce the third annual AIA COTE Top Ten for Students. The program challenges students, working individually or in teams, to submit projects that use a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions that protect and enhance the environment. The competition will recognize ten exceptional studio projects that seamlessly integrate innovative, regenerative strategies within their broader design concepts.

Entries will be judged on their success in addressing all ten sustainability measures. Successful responses will demonstrate creative and innovative integration of daylighting, materials, water, energy, and ecological systems, through a cohesive and beautiful architectural understanding. Entries are examined in regard to their design and innovation, integration with their community, land use and effect on site ecology, bioclimatic design, energy and water use, approach to light and air, materials and construction, long-life considerations, and feedback loops. Entries will also be judged for the success with which the project has met its individual requirements, with particular emphasis on design excellence.

The project submission will include for each of the measures a demonstration through narrative, illustration, and in some cases an approach and diagram or metric for the emphasis and intent of the design decisions. These measures are intended to foster leadership (and ability) among designers in all facets of environmental decision-making; and to demonstrate design quality and ways to seamlessly integrate innovative, regenerative strategies within their broader design concepts.


Jessica Nutz, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
John Quale, University of New Mexico
Holly Samuelson, Harvard University
Lisa Matthiessen, U.S. Green Building Council
Greg Mella, SmithgroupJJR

AIA COTE Top Ten for Students program measures: 
Measure 1:   Design and Innovation
Measure 2:   Regional/Community Design
Measure 3:   Land Use and Site Ecology
Measure 4:   Bioclimatic Design
Measure 5:   Light and Air
Measure 6:   Water Cycle
Measure 7:   Energy Flows and Energy Future
Measure 8:   Materials and Construction
Measure 9:   Long Life, Loose Fit
Measure 10: Collective Wisdom and Feedback Loops



For questions please contact: 

Eric Wayne Ellis
Allison Smith
Director of Operations and Programs

Programs Manager

+ Competition Program
+ Curriculum Addendum

Dec. 7, 2016
Registration Deadline (free) + Submission Site Opens

Jan. 18, 2017
Submission Deadline

April 22, 2017
Winners Announced on Earth Day

April 27-29, 2017
Exhibition at the AIA Convention in Orlando, FL

+ Ten Sustainability Measures
+ Guidelines
+ Registration
+ Resources
+ Competition Organizers





Image Credit
2015-2016 COTE Top Ten for Students Competition  |  Winner

Charlotte's Sustainable Cooperative Center: Extending Charlotte's Cultural Corridor
Student:Jessica Nutz
Faculty Sponsor: Kyoung-Hee Kim
University of North Carolina at Charlotte