Buildings that Address the Climate Crisis through Architecture are Top Winners of AIA California Design Awards

Architectural association recognizes design that improves quality of life in places ranging from affordable housing to civic spaces

(Sacramento, CA) Led by three buildings that exemplify architecture’s capacity to address the most pressing challenge of our time—climate change—twenty-five projects were named by the American Institute of Architects California (AIA California) as 2022 AIA California Design Awards recipients today.

Winners of Climate Action Awards—the highest-level design award the AIA CA bestows on architectural projects—were required to meet rigorous environmental performance standards in response to the rapidly changing environment. These awards recognize architects who have protected and enhanced the delicate interface between the natural and the built environment, while also stewarding our precious and limited resources.

While all twenty-five design award recipients met a sustainability framework, Atherton Library, designed by WRNS Studio; The Harvey B. Milk Terminal 1 the work of Woods Bagot / ED2 International / HKS / KYA / Gensler / Kuth Ranieri; and The Prow by architects Aidlin Darling Design reached the highest performance and sustainability goals.

Each of these three projects met “strong, holistic consideration” of sustainability. Each “explicitly incorporates effective performance/sustainability strategies in multiple areas (energy, water, materials, health, ecology, resilience),” noted the team of experts convened by the AIA California to review Design Awards submissions and develop consideration criteria based on the Common App—benchmarks American Institute of Architects members have agreed to strive towards on a national level.

“The recipients of the Climate Action Awards represent the most creative and visionary, environmentally sensitive architecture and design, which is required to reverse the record-breaking temperatures seen this summer and ensuing planetary crises,” noted 2022 AIA California President Rona Rothenberg, FAIA. “They demonstrate design in service of place and people, and showcase the very best of what we can achieve as a profession for our clients and the planet.”

Added AIA California Executive Vice-President Nicki Dennis Stephens, Hon. AIA, who attained LEED certification herself to better understand the process of members she represents: “These awards demonstrate tangible ways architects are making immediate and meaningful impacts in communities while recognizing the importance of climate action and the critical urgency of the issue.”

The 2022 AIA California Design Winners were awarded across four different levels: From highest they are: the aforementioned Climate Action Awards; Honor Awards (4); Merit Awards (10); and Special Commendations for specific areas of attainment as outlined in the AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence (9). Each achieved varied sustainability benchmarks; projects that did not reach minimum standards in California were not considered for awards.

A jury of four, Kevin Alter, AIA – Partner, alterstudio; Oonagh Ryan, AIA IIDA – Founding Principal, ora_arch; Claire Conroy – Editor-in-Chief, Residential Design Magazine; and Neal Schwartz, FAIA – Founder + Principal ^A | Schwartz and Architecture pre-reviewed two-hundred and six design awards submissions for this year’s program, discussing them together over the course of two days before finalizing the list of twenty-five winners.

Composed of both in-state and out-of-California-based individuals, they noted that the first challenge to their task was “what elevates a project to an award when there is so much proficiency and talent” amongst California designers.”

The architectural firms and projects who met this mark are listed below. For images of winners, comments from the jury on each project, and more, visit:

Climate Action Awards

(In parallel to aesthetic design considerations, design at minimum, explicitly incorporates effective performance/sustainability strategies in multiple areas—energy, water, materials, health, ecology, resilience)

Atherton Library (Atherton, California)
Architect: WRNS Studio
The Harvey B. Milk Terminal 1 (San Francisco, California)
Architect: Woods Bagot / ED2 International / HKS / KYA  / Gensler / Kuth Ranieri
The Prow (Seattle, Washington)
Architect: Aidlin Darling Design

Honor Awards

(In parallel to aesthetic design considerations, each project at least explicitly incorporates performance/sustainability principles, and does so *effectively* in at least one area—from designing for Energy Efficiency to designing for Discovery. For a complete list, visit AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence.)

11 NOHO (North Hollywood, California)
Architect: Brooks + Scarpa
Desert Palisades (Palm Springs, California)
Architect: Woods + Dangaran
High Desert Retreat (Palm Springs, California)
Architect: Aidlin Darling Design
Sister Lillian Murphy Community (San Francisco, California)
Residential Architect: Paulett Taggart Architects with Associate Architect StudioVARA

Merit Awards

(In parallel to aesthetic design considerations, each recipient was at least minimally compliant—by California standards–with basic but complete performance/sustainability considerations…)

Caymus-Suisun Winery (Fairfield, California)
Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center (Los Angeles, California)
Architect: AUX Architecture
Kol Emeth (Palo Alto, California)
Architect: FieldArchitecture
Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television (Los Angeles, California)
Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
MacLac Building D – Rebirth of An Historic Paint Factory (San Francisco, California)
Architect: Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects with PLAD Peter Logan Architecture and Design
Mar Vista (Los Angeles, California)
Architect: Woods + Dangaran
SoFi Stadium and Entertainment District (Inglewood, California)
Architect: HKS Architects, Inc.
The Press (Costa Mesa, California)
Architect: Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
Three Gables (Napa, California)
Architect: Aidlin Darling Design
UC Riverside Plant Research 1 (Riverside, California)
Architect: Perkins&Will

Special Commendations

(New this year – recipients in this category are recognized by the jury for design which excelled specifically in one of the 10 principles as outlined in the Framework for Design Excellence)

Design for Integration
Clifford L. Allenby Building (Sacramento, California)
Architect: ZGF Architects, Lionakis, Rudolph & Sletten

Design for Integration
Hayward Library & Community Learning Center (Hayward, California)
Architect: Noll & Tam Architects

Design for Resources
Geneva Car Barn & Powerhouse (San Francisco, California)
Architect: Aidlin Darling Design

Design for Energy
Jeff and Judy Henley Hall: Institute for Energy Efficiency (Isla Vista, California)
Architect: KieranTimberlake

Design for Change
La Selva Beach Library (La Selva Beach, California)
Architect: Jayson Architecture

Design for Equitable Communities

Leimert Park Community Fridge (Los Angeles, California)
Architect: Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Design for Discovery
UCSD North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood (San Diego, California)
Architect: HKS Architects, Inc. and Safdie Rabines Architects

Design for Discovery
TIDE Academy (Menlo Park, California)
Architect: LPA Design Studios

Design for Water
SoFi Stadium and Entertainment District (Inglewood, California)
Architect: HKS Architects, Inc.

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