It's nice when projects that I've followed and written about for ENR Magazine are recognized. So when I heard that one of these said projects were recently honored at the 47th Annual Los Angeles Architectural Awards, I felt a little proud, like a part of me had also won.

The awards, announced June 22 by the Los Angeles Business Council, celebrate projects that embrace cutting-edge green design and smart transportation systems. More than 500 design and building professionals, along with top city officials, gathered at the Beverly Hilton for the event as over three dozen projects were recognized for design innovation.

“This year the LABC is honoring architects both locally and globally who are embracing creative design standards to create livable, sustainable cities that improve quality of life while creating jobs,” said Mary Leslie, President of the LABC, in a news release.

The grand prize winner was the LEED Platinum designated United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles, which I wrote about for ENR in October, 2015; and the winner of the  Community Impact award was Los Angeles World Airport’s Capital Improvement Program, which I also recently covered. 

Sustainability was a driving factor for the $400-million federal courthouse project, which completed last year, said judges. A striking glass and steel riff on classic architectural principles that redefines high performance green building, the design of the United States Courthouse is "rooted in classic principles, sustainable strategies and a contemporary spirit." Targeted for LEED Platinum certification, its design optimizes natural light through the integration of a high-performance, pleated glass façade and program organization.

The 10-story structure is highlighted by giant cube shape that appears to suspend in mid-air thanks to a structural-steel hat truss. Clark Construction Group of California was the design-build contractor, while the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) was the project’s architect-engineer.

To achieve Platinum, the building employs a combined mechanical plant for cooling, heating and power that has two 5,000-amp substations and a 2500-kW diesel generator for emergency power. The system can be converted to biomass as a fuel. A 400-kW, roof-mounted photovoltaic array is designed to produce up to 525,000-kWh annually.

The project’s 220,000-sq-ft pleated and glazed curtain wall gives the courthouse a variable appearance that changes as the sun moves while reducing solar heat gain by nearly 50%. The pleated façade and transparent panels on the north and south sides maximize daylighting, while opaque panels on the east and west sides minimize solar gain.

In winning the Community Impact award, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) was recognized for its $14 billion Capital Improvement Program, which will re-imagine, renovate and rebuild LAX.

Cynthia Guidry, deputy executive director in the Planning and Development Group at Los Angeles World Airports, recently told me that they have something "going on in every area of our airport whether it be landside, terminals or airside,” adding that there are about two dozen projects worth approximately $7 billion currently under construction.

The 45 winning projects for this year's Los Angeles Architectural Awards were selected from a competitive pool of more than 200 projects. Winners were selected by a jury panel representing a cross-section of industry experts, including representatives from top architectural firms, the City of Los Angeles, developers and engineers with jury co-chairs from Morley Builders, and Marmol Radziner.