The AIA announced its 2016 Institute Honor Awards for architecture on January 15th, which gives me another opportunity to drink up some great work.

We found something to love about each of the 11 winners and these five are the ones that we thought were particularly inspiring. Thanks to the AIA for shining a light on this awesome work.

American Enterprise Group National Headquarters by BNIM

This project was chosen as a best-in-class example of restoration of an existing building. This was more than a facelift. BNIM completely renovated the 154,000 square foot building, originally build in 1965. The most sustainable option is often to exploit a building that is already there. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the largest portion of carbon savings by 2030 is in retrofitting existing buildings and replacing energy using equipment.

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Asia Society Hong Kong Center by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners

This impressive project sits in a rain forest surrounded by sky scrapers. It is being celebrated for “capitalizing on the setting, rather than building over it.”  Isn’t it wonderful when a team is able to celebrate the landscape, rather than fight it? That’s the spirit of Abundance in action.

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Case Inlet Retreat by MW|Works

The story of this property is full of heart – the owners had been camping at this site for years, and when they decided to build a permanent cabin they wanted to keep the relationship between the structure and the land it was on strong. MW|Works did more than capitalize on great views – they built a home that was in perfect harmony with the landscape.

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The Perot Museum of Nature & Science by

The project team took an ambitious stance on sustainability for this landmark project in Dallas. Visitors to the museum are literally walking into an active experiment in sustainable technology.

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WMS Boathouse by Studio Gang Architects

If there was ever an argument to use architecture and design to promote wellness, it would be the WMS Boathouse, which houses rowing, training, and boat storage facilities. This LEED Silver project prioritizes ventilation and uses natural light and high performance glass to warm the floors during the cold Chicago winters.

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Nobody in this business is in it for the awards – but they are a nice acknowledgement of the impact that the built environment can have. Congrats to all of the honorees, and thank you for the exceptional work!


Deborah Hanamura is director, marketing & communications at Paladino and Company. 

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