San Diego Architectural Awards Show Push for Green Design

Urging communities to build new residential and commercial structures using green design principles to benefit the environment is a fair argument — but what about when the goal is for properties to look pretty?

Clearly, making new construction attractive is as much a goal — if not more — for developers as energy efficiency and using ecologically-conscious materials may be.

Which is why it’s nice to see that the recent San Diego chapter of the American Institute of Architects awards reflected an emphasis on green and aesthetic design.

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently reported that the 2007 awards were in strong contrast to last year’s picks, which prompted one juror to criticize the local architectural community during the awards ceremony for not using enough sustainable design.

The design community listened. Some firms added green design principles to their mission statement; others investigated using salvaged material such as discarded glass. The result was a 2007 awards ceremony featuring a strong focus on  sustainable design, with winners including a printer’s warehouse converted into a mixed-use space with ecologically-minded materials; a revamped ranch house that was turned into an open-air structure, saving it from being completely rebuilt; and a downtown low-cost housing development with drought-tolerant landscaping.

The recent San Diego American Institute of Architects awards show that green design can not only be viewed as an environmental benefit, but as an architectural challenge as well. After being reprimanded at last year’s awards ceremony for not embracing sustainable design, local architects took note and have since used green design principles as inspiration for new, exciting designs. (And that’s without any official mandate or ordinance.)

Know of any structures that were built using green design and very unique design elements? Out and About would love to hear about them. As green design becomes more and more popular, here’s to hoping it inspires  even more creative spaces — because then, even without awards, everybody wins.