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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:

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

    • Entries are limited to projects that have been completed since January 1, 2010.

2015 Deadline & Entry Fee

The deadline for submissions has passed. Please check back in the fall of 2015 for information on the 2016 program.

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

Members: $500.00 for each entry
Nonmembers: $750.00 for each entry

2015 Jury


J. Stuart Pettitt, AIA (Chair)
Straub Pettitt Yaste Architects
Clawson, Michigan

William C. Ayers

Victoria S. Bergsagel
Architects of Achievement
Mercer Island, Washington

Mark Kranz, AIA
SmithGroup JJR

Robert Miklos, FAIA
designLAB architects

Submission Preview

Carefully review the 2015 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

    • The integration of function and aesthetics in designs that also respect the surrounding community and context

    • 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 learning environment 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:

    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.

    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..

Submission Upload

    • 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

    • Composite pages are acceptable not to exceed 15. North arrow and graphic scale are required.

    • Additions and renovations should place before and after images together for easy comparison.

    • 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 2015 program has passed. Information for the 2016 program will be posted in the fall of 2015.

Questions may be directed to


Awards of Excellence will be given to registered architects whose projects represent exemplary practice in all five of the following areas of educational facility design.

    1. Enhancing the client’s educational program

    2. Design that integrates functional needs and aesthetic considerations while respecting the surrounding community and context.

    3. The planning and design process.

    4. Shows an understanding of the connection between the built and natural environment.

    5. Demonstrates an integrated and holistic approach to sustainability.

Awards of Merit may be given to other registered architects for superior quality projects. Citations will call attention to outstanding features of individual projects.

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-2015.

This design awards program will offer AIA members, architects licensed in North America, 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.

Winners of the 2015 Awards Program will be presented at the CAE reception in May, 2015 at the AIA National Convention in Atlanta. Projects will 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.

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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