Louisiana Children’s Museum Wins 2022 AIA COTE Top Ten Award

Date Posted: 04.22.2022

Mithun is honored to announce that it has received an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Plus Award for the design of Louisiana Children’s Museum.

“This project exemplifies a resilient way of living with water in a place that is continuously challenged by its proximity to it. The project design finds a way to be simultaneously immersed in a natural setting while being in a part of a city,” noted the 2022 Top Ten Awards jury. “The design does everything: being a modern vernacular form that is spatially rich and meets the triple bottom line of social well-being, environmental health, and a just economy.”

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Louisiana Children’s Museum (LCM) re-envisioned its mission to holistically address the health and development of children in a state that often ranks 48th in educational outcomes. The health and well-being benefits of intentionally connecting children with nature led the museum to relocate from an indoor-focused experience in New Orleans’ Warehouse District to a new campus encircling a lagoon in the 1,300-acre City Park. The new campus presents a transformative model for children’s museums, one that weaves together indoor and outdoor learning opportunities along with literacy, parenting, early childhood research and environmental education activities to create a holistic and supportive environment for children and their families.

“As the Louisiana Children’s Museum envisioned a dramatically reimagined institution, we set our sights high and shaped ambitious plans that would clearly tell young children we value them and were investing in them. We realized this goal in our early months of operation,” said LCM CEO Julia Bland. “Over the past two years, our Museum has been tested in unexpected ways. We have managed to build on the phenomenal resources designed by Mithun and our outstanding design team to support the existing and evolving needs of children and families in New Orleans and the region.”

“We are so excited that the Louisiana Children’s Museum vision, which grew out of the trauma of Hurricane Katrina, has become a model of resilience, integration of landscape and bioclimatic design,” said Mithun partner Richard Franko, FAIA. “Equally important, the weaving of buildings and landscape creates a fun and immersive experience for the children and families of New Orleans.”

This is the seventh AIA COTE Top Ten Award for Mithun, continuing the firm’s leadership among national practices with multiple COTE honors. The Top Ten Awards program is the profession’s best-known recognition program for sustainable design excellence. It highlights projects that exemplify the integration of great design and great performance, delivering social, economic and ecological value. The “Top Ten Plus” designation, earned by Louisiana Children’s Museum this year, denotes projects with exemplary actual performance and post-occupancy lessons.