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AIA Small Project Awards Program

The Small Project Practitioners (SPP) Knowledge Community presents the twelfth annual Small Project Award Program to recognize the work of small project practitioners and to promote excellence in small project design. This Award Program strives to raise public awareness of the value and design excellence that architects bring to all project types, including renovations and additions, no matter the limits of size and budget.

This year’s Small Project Award theme, SMALL GESTURE BIG IMPACT, intends to recognize projects that make a noticeable impact with measured and thoughtful gestures through architecture. This may include small interventions or larger gestures on the built environment.




    • Open to architects licensed in the United States

    • Built projects must have been completed after January 1, 2012

    • There is no requirement for professional photography

    • Maximum of four entries per firm – (a single project may be entered in two different categories with applicable fees for each entry.

2016 Deadline & Entry Fee

The deadline is November 16, 2015 before 5:00pm Eastern time.

Below is the list of submission entry fees. All entry fees are non-refundable.

AIA Members - $175.00 for each entry
Non-members - $300.00 for each entry

Applicants may enter the same project in more than one category. The entry fee is on a per category basis (e.g. the same project entered in two categories will be charged two entry fees).

2016 Jury


Marika Snider, AIA (Chair)
Snider Architecture
Beavercreek, Ohio

Will Bruder, FAIA
Will Bruder Architects

Mira Locher, FAIA
Kajika Architecture
Salt Lake City

Elizabeth Ranieri, FAIA
Kuth Ranieri
San Francisco

Jonathan Tate
Office Jonathan Tate
New Orleans

Submission Preview

Carefully review the 2016 Submission Preview before submitting your payment. You can go back and edit your submission until the deadline.

Submission Criteria

The Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community encourages submissions of projects in all building types: commercial, retail, industrial, educational, public and private, as well as residential. In addition, projects may include fully completed new and renovations or elements of built projects. There is no limitation other than the quality of the final work. We invite the submission of projects accessible to people of all abilities. New construction and renovations are equally welcome.

Finally, the Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community strongly encourages submissions from the many diverse Small Project Practitioner (SPP) members of the AIA and the profession.

Submission Categories

Category 1:
A small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design element up to $150,000 in construction cost.

Category 2: A small project construction, up to $1,500,000 in construction cost.

Category 3: A small project construction, object, work of environmental art, or architectural design under 5,000 SF.


    • Submissions may not exceed 10MB and must include no more than ten (10) slides arranged in the order you wish them viewed.

    • Submissions with more than 10 slides will be immediately disqualified. A composition of drawings, images, and other illustrations may constitute one (1) slide given that said composition complies with all other submission requirements.

    • Documentation to describe the project context, special considerations, and innovative design.

    • Site Plan, Floor Plan(s), Sections and Elevations as appropriate to project type including North arrow and graphic scale.

    • Slide Format: Slides are to be submitted in a single bound PDF file (no more than 10 slide pages). PDF files are to be high quality. Each slide is to be no larger than 1600 x 1200 pixels at 300dpi.

Photography Requirements

Image Quality: Photos enable the jury to evaluate your project. An award cannot be made to a project if its relevant details cannot be determined through the submission material. Please note that submissions will be reviewed by jurors on a computer screen.

Image Editing:
Images may be edited to improve contrast ratio and color balance. Images may also be cropped, but they may not be edited to alter architectural elements or context. Images identifying authorship must be edited to retain the anonymity of the author. Images may be black and white, sepia or color but may not be colorized black and white images. Images should represent the project, as it exists in the built environment. Artistic composition must not confuse the jury as to the nature of the project.

Submission Suggestions | Hints for Success

    • Jurors desire to see project context – how it fits into the environment or surroundings. At least one photo should show the project’s relationship to its surroundings

    • Site plans, floor plans, elevations, and sections should be used when appropriate to help describe the project

    • Take advantage of the 2016 SMALL GESTURE BIG IMPACT theme. Jury members will be instructed to pay close attention to submissions that clearly present innovative design strategies that capitalize on project constraints or limitations. Additionally, jurors will want to see either an unusual approach to a common problem, or a straightforward solution masterfully executed

    • Photography should be of good quality and communication the project well. Professional photography is not required

    • Presentation is important. Organize your entry into a coherent presentation. Although compositions of drawings and images are permitted, simple layouts, and single images often prove most effective

    • Information should not be too small or illegible.

    • Use direct, simple language for description. Avoid Archi-speak

    • Emphasize one or two strong points about the project.

    • Include a single sentence anecdote of description that helps the jury remember your submission

    • Sometimes it may be better to enter a single object from a project rather than the project in its entirety.

    • You may enter different objects from the same project individually

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do I have to start and finish my submission in one session?
No. You can start your submission and come back to finish it before the deadline date of 5:00 pm Eastern Time.

What if I want to make changes to my entry after I have completed my submission?
You can enter the system at any time to edit or update your submission before the deadline date prior to 5:00 pm, Eastern Time.

How will I know my submission has been received?
Upon submitting your entry, you will receive a confirmation e-mail message containing your submission details.

What should I do if I did not receive a confirmation e-mail containing my submission details?

First, check your junk mail folder – the most likely problem is that your spam filter sent the e-mail from to your junk mail. You should change your account settings to accept future e-mail from us. If it did not go into your junk mail folder, please contact for assistance.

Begin Your Submission

Begin your submission!

The deadline for submission is 5:00 pm Eastern time November 16, 2015.

Questions may be directed to


Award winning projects will be recognized in AIA publications and electronic media, including the SPP Revue and website.

Projects will also be displayed at the 2016 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition. Information will be provided to Award Recipients regarding board layout.

Past Recipients

2015 Recipients

2014 Recipients

2013 Recipients


Elizabeth Wolverton
Sr. Manager, AIA Honors & Awards
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20006


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