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Exterior corner view of Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery from across a busy street
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The Winners of the 2018 AIA COTE Top Ten Awards

Preserving an old building is a sustainable act in itself. Retrofitting a 150-year-old historic landmark to be a top energy performer. That’s truly impressive. And that’s just what we did with the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Art Museum, a delectable French pastry of a building designed in the ornate Second Empire style by James Renwick, Jr., and completed in 1859 as the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The project was awarded a place on the AIA’s Committee on the Environment’s 2018 Top Ten awards list.

Central to the ethos of COTE and its members is that sustainability and good design should not be treated as two separate goals, but rather should receive equal priority in every project. To demonstrate that this gold standard is possible, the committee launched the annual AIA COTE Top Ten awards program in 1997—this year’s winners are showcased in the following pages—to highlight “projects that are beautiful and would win design honor awards, and that also meet really high performance standards. They do both,” says Angela Brooks, FAIA, the 2018 chair of the COTE advisory group and the managing principal of Los Angeles–based Brooks + Scarpa.

Read more about the selection process and criteria that garnered the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery a place in AIA COTE’s Top Ten awards program.

Additional project details are available in the November 2018 edition of Architect magazine.

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