The Delta Dental Headquarters in Okemos, Mich., named Best Office Project in ENR Midwest's 2012 Best Projects Competition (click here), also was named Best Office Project in ENR's annual Best of the Best Competition, in which winners of regional contests compete for national titles in 19 categories.

As with ENR Midwest's Best Projects Competition, ENR's Best of the Best were selected by a panel of industry professionals on the basis of design quality, construction quality, innovation, community impact and the the ability of designers and builders to overcome the unique challenges their project presented.

While I wasn't privy to deliberations involving the selection of Best of the Best, I can tell you that judges of Midwest's competition were struck by how deftly Delta balanced its needs with those of the environment, and not simply by accruing the points required to achieve LEED certification.

Here, Delta intuited that maintaining the pastoral quality of it surroundings was not only consistent with the tenets of environmental stewardship, but its desire to establish a fully rounded community, both for employees and for neighbors.

To expand an on-site retention basin supporting both area drainage and a variety of wildlife, a herpetologist worked with project team members to relocate the wildlife to temporary habitats for the duration of construction. As a result of cleaner water and landscaping enhancements, including the introduction of rocky basking structures, the wildlife population on site has doubled since returning to Delta.

No, it's not brick. It's not mortar. In fact, it's pretty simple until you think about it.

Congratulations to Delta, which will be profiled in the Feb. 11, 2013 edition of ENR.