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AIA/CAE Education Facility Design Awards Program

The CAE Design Awards is an internationally recognized marketplace of ideas. Through this forum the committee disseminates quality ideas on educational facility planning and design to clients, architects, and the public. As how we educate ourselves continues to evolve, we must evaluate and measure our successes, and have an arena in which to test ideas. This awards program is an opportunity to engage in critical evaluation and experimentation, not as an end in itself, but always in the context of our clients and their needs.




All Entries must meet the following requirements:

    • Educational facilities that are eligible for consideration include domestic and international early childhood learning environments (including Head Start); public, private, and parochial elementary, middle/junior high, and high schools; alternative schools (i.e., charter schools, magnet schools, vocational/technical schools, and at-risk schools); innovative learning centers (i.e., museum schools, environmental learning centers, and high-tech learning environments); community and technical colleges; schools of higher education; and corporate or other specialized training centers. Non-traditional learning environments may include community centers, museums, libraries, etc.

    • Projects may include new construction, additions, and renovations/modernizations.

    • Master plans, including multiple sites and/or multiple phases, will be considered.

    • Entries are limited to projects that have been completed since January 1, 2009. If the project has not yet been built, it must be completed through design development, with the owner's approval, to proceed with construction documents before September 1, 2013.

2014 Deadline & Entry Fee

The deadline for submission completion is January 13, 2014 before 5:00 PM Eastern. All deadlines are strictly observed.

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

Members: $500.00 for each entry
Nonmembers: $600.00 for each entry
Unique Learning Environment Projects: No entry fee required

2014 Jury


John R. Dale, FAIA (Chair)
Harley Ellis Devereaux
Los Angeles

Claire Gallagher, Assoc. AIA (Vice Chair)
Georgian Court University
School of Education
Lakewood, New Jersey

Fred Dust
New York City

Dutch MacDonald, AIA
MAYA Design

Marsha Maytum, FAIA
Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
San Francisco

Submission Preview

Carefully review the 2014 Submission Preview before submitting your payment. You can go back and edit your submission until the deadline.

Submission Criteria

The CAE Design Awards seek to identify, honor, and disseminate the projects and ideas that exhibit innovation and excellence through:

    • Demonstration of excellence in architectural design

    • The enhancement of the client's educational program through the thoughtful planning and design of facilities

    • Integration of the local environment as an integral part of the design and learning experience

    • Understanding of social and emotional needs of learners and the corresponding manifestation into physical spaces

    • A planning/design process that is educational, collaborative, and builds the capacity of the school and its community to support its students

    • A demonstrated commitment to sustainability through a holistic and integrated design approach

    • An understanding of the connection between the built and natural environment

The Jury will give special focus to the following conditions:

    1. Of prime interest is how individual projects further the client's mission, goals, and educational program. Submissions should convey how the project has been conceived, planned, designed, built, inhabited, and interpreted. The jury will look for quality within both the process and the product. The best submissions will exhibit authentic collaboration between the design team, the client, and the community as they work together to fulfill the project’s goals. These are projects that show exemplary care in serving the client and ensuring a quality built environment, both functionally and aesthetically.

    For those projects that have a specific element or elements that set them apart, the path of experimentation and discovery should be conveyed. Engaging the imagination of the participants through the process of conceiving, planning and designing should be apparent in the result.

    2. Unique Learning Environments

    Of particular interest are projects which generate new thinking in learning environments. Special attention will be given to projects that have made a significant contribution to the uniqueness and effectiveness of learning through the physical environment. These projects can be non-traditional learning environments such as interpretation centers, corporate training environments, outdoor classrooms, etc.

Submission Upload

    • Project images must be submitted in a single .PDF file not to exceed 10 MB

    • Maximum of 15 images/drawings including a site plan, a floor plan (for each level), section (if applicable), and include at least two exterior and two interior color images

    • It is the submitter’s responsibility to make sure the architect's name and/or firm name is not revealed on any of the images, plans, or narratives. Failure to follow this requirement will automatically disqualify the entry.

    • North arrow and scale are required and composite pages are acceptable not to exceed 15

    • Final page of the PDF file must include thumbnails of all images submitted as the last or 16th page.

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

The deadline for the 2014 CAE program has passed. Please check back in Fall 2014 for the 2015 program information.

Questions may be directed to


Awards of Excellence will be given to registered architect(s) whose project(s) represent exemplary practice. Awards of Merit may be given to other registered architects for superior quality projects. Citations will call attention to outstanding features of individual projects.

No minimum or maximum number of awards has been established. The number of awards given will be at the sole discretion of the jury, based on the number of projects it deems to represent exemplary practice.

In addition, the CAE has partnered with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) to select award winners for the Shirley Cooper and Walter Taylor Awards.” The Shirley Cooper Award is presented to the project that best meets the educational needs of its students. The Walter Taylor Award is presented to the project that best meets a difficult design challenge.” Winners of these awards will be notified directly by the AASA in mid-2014.

This design awards program will offer AIA members, architects licensed in North America, and designers and educational planners an opportunity to be nationally recognized. Their work will be displayed through a variety of vehicles, reaching an audience of school boards, private and public school administrators, facilities managers, and other client groups around the country and the world.

Winners of the 2014 Awards Program will be presented at the CAE reception in June, 2014 at the AIA National Convention in Chicago. Details regarding the exact time and location will be announced later. Projects will also be displayed at the Convention.

Jury-selected projects will be showcased on the CAE homepage. Postings will include the architect's statement, general project information, and a limited number of images as selected by the AIA.

Award winning projects may also be featured in a number of publications, presentations, and conferences, or included in other CAE-sponsored media presentations.

Past Recipients

2014 Recipients

2013 Recipients

2012 Recipients


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


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