AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Cherokee Studios

A detail view of the retail space and facade system are seen in this photo, including a planted median with an underground stormwater retention system.
Photo credit: John Linden


  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Building type(s): Other, Commercial office, Retail, Multi-unit residential
  • New construction
  • 32,000 ft2 (2,970 m2)
  • Project scope: a single building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed April 2010

This urban infill, mixed-use, market-rate housing project was designed to incorporate green design as a way of marketing a green lifestyle. It is pending LEED Platinum certification. The design maximizes the opportunities of the mild Southern California climate with a passive cooling strategy using cross-ventilation and thermal convection while taking advantage of the abundantly sunny location. A commitment to minimizing the project's ecological footprint informed all aspects of the design.

The main architectural feature of this project is the building's owner-controlled double-façade system. The occupant is able to adjust the operable screens of the building façade as necessary for privacy, views, shading, and thermal comfort. As a result, the facade is virtually redesigned "live" from within, responding to the occupants of the building in real time. The façade also enhances the existing streetscape and promotes a lively pedestrian environment. By visually breaking up the façade into smaller, articulated moving elements, the building appears to move with the passing cars and people. Like many features of the building, the façade is multivalent and rich with meaning, performing several roles for formal, functional, and experiential effect.

Environmental Aspects

According to the California Title 24-2005 report published by USGBC dated November 19, 2007, the passive strategies alone make this building nearly 50% more efficient than similar conventionally designed structures. It also exceeds current Title 24 requirements by almost 50%.

The perforated aluminum panels of the building create an ever-changing screen, providing shade to cool the building, reducing noise, and enhancing privacy while still allowing for spectacular views, natural light, and ventilation from ocean breezes that pass through its millions of perforations even when all panels are fully closed.

Passive design strategies include:

  • locating and orienting the building to control solar cooling loads
  • shaping and orienting the building for exposure to prevailing winds
  • shaping the building to induce buoyancy for natural ventilation
  • designing windows to maximize daylighting
  • shading south-facing windows and minimizing west-facing glazing
  • designing windows to maximize natural ventilation
  • utilizing low-flow fixtures and storm water management
  • shaping and planning the interior to enhance daylight and natural airflow distribution

The building is designed to incorporate passive and active energy-efficient measures and optimize building performance to reduce energy use during all phases of construction and occupancy.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned by ReThink Development
  • Typically occupied by 36 people, 105 hours per person per week; and 300 visitors per week, 7 hours per visitor per week


Simulation, Green specifications, Commissioning, Operations and maintenance, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, On-site renewable electricity, Durability, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Local materials, Certified wood, C&D waste management, Occupant recycling, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Low-emitting materials

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Last updated: 4/14/2011

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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