The AIA Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to Fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of the architect as an individual, but also honors before the public and the profession a model architect who has made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.
Architect members who have been in good standing for at least 10 years may be nominated for Fellowship. Architect members may be advanced to Fellowship under guidelines set by the Board if they have contributed notably to the advancement of the profession of architecture.
2016 Deadline & Entry Fee
The deadline is October 16, 2015 before 5:00 pm Eastern time. There is a $400.00 entry fee for this program.
Carefully review the 2016 Fellowship Submission Preview before submitting your payment. You can go back and edit your submission until the deadline once you have started but no refunds will be issued for submissions that are disqualified, late or incomplete.
The sponsor must be an AIA or FAIA member in good standing of the AIA. Elected or current AIA National officers and Board members, Executive Committee members of the College of Fellows, AIA national and component staff, and members of the Jury of Fellows (at the time of nomination or within three years of retiring from the jury) may not serve as sponsors or references. In addition, the Institute Secretary and/or Secretary-elect at the time of nomination and within three years of completion of their term of office may not serve as a sponsor.
A sponsor will be selected by the candidate. The sponsor is responsible for the following submission requirements.
•Provides guidance to and assists with developing a succinct theme or focus throughout the submittal
•Assists the candidate in the preparation of his or her submission
•Ensures that exhibits support the category and emphasize results
•Is expected to contact the candidate's references and to make sure a one-page reference letter is written on company letterhead, signed, and electronically submitted to the AIA, at HonorsAwards@aia.org before 5:00 pm Eastern Time, October 16, 2015.
•Writes a one page nomination letter for the candidate to be included as the first item in their single PDF file smaller than 10 MB. Submissions without a nomination letter will be disqualified.
Note to Sponsors: All candidates submitting in nonconsecutive years are considered first- year candidates at resubmission and are required to attain seven new references.
Deadline is before 5:00 pm Eastern Time, October 16, 2015.
There is a non-refundable application fee of $400.00.
The Jury of Fellows requires sponsors to base nominations solely on the candidate's single most outstanding category of achievement within an Object of the Institute.
The nomination may be made in one of two ways:
2.By petition of individual members or Fellows, it must bear the signatures of any 10 AIA members or any 5 Fellows in good standing. It is the responsibility of the sponsor to inform the component of a petition nomination.
• Do not use a light type face.
• The narrative for each of your exhibits should address three things: 1) what was the challenge presented to you; 2) what was your role; and 3) what was the outcome.
• Add page numbers.
• Submission should be no more than 40 pages including exhibits.
The summary of achievements is limited to no more than one page. Note: The first 25-35 words must be a concise statement of the candidate's achievements, which may be used as the statement of achievement if elevated.
Section 2: Accomplishments
Section 2 is divided into three parts and must focus on the achievements of the candidate cited in the category of nomination. It is important to include such information as leadership roles and quantifiable results, awards received (including jurors' names that could add further accreditation), related lectures and presentations, jury service, exhibitions of work, civic and community involvement, published work, and/or succinct details of results achieved from the candidate's involvement in listed activities. A more definitive list may be found in the Fellowship FAQ section. Please keep the descriptions precise and concise. This section must not be used for additional exhibits, although 1” x 1” margin images are permitted but only if they add clarity or support for the listed achievements. It is very important that material be succinct for clarity as it is reviewed by the jury.
2.1 Describe the significant work of the candidate in the areas relating to the category of nomination (include such information as projects undertaken, research completed, positions held, academic involvement, jury experience, presentations made, etc.). Always describe the achievements that relate directly to the category of nomination first.
For positions held, including voluntary ones, include the title and organization name, the duties involved, results achieved, and dates the candidate held the position.
For design or construction projects, include the location and the year of completion and candidate's specific role or achievement for the project.
2.3 List the books or articles written by or about the candidate that support the category of nomination, if applicable. If the title of the book or article is not sufficient to add clarity to the jury review, candidates may add a brief description of the contents or importance of the written material.
Section 3: Exhibits
Exhibits must support the category of nomination and should state the problem presented, your particular role, and the resolution emphasizing results. Every submission must include photographic exhibits of the candidate's architectural work or that of the candidate's firm or others' work in whose creation and production the candidate has played a significant role. For candidates whose practice has not involved construction, there must be either photographs or literary exhibits. Work of the last 10 years has special significance and is encouraged.
Number of Photographs Allowed
For all objects of nomination, 20 exhibit pages is the maximum allowed with a maximum of 15 photographs or photographic composition pages. Photographs and/or exhibits should be selected that best illustrate the candidate's work in the category of submission. For example, those submitting in Object 2 with a focus on firm management should show charts and exhibits that best illustrate the growth of the firm, innovations in firm organization, or the like. This will assist the jury in understanding the candidate's achievements. Candidates must show how their achievements have benefited the profession beyond their own firm or community involvement such as participation in committees, related organizations, presentations, etc.
Object 1: For design, urban design, or historic preservation achievements:
For all categories of design, no fewer than five completed projects for which the nominee is 'largely responsible for design'. Each project must contain a descriptive data sheet. One photograph per project should illustrate the project in the context of its surroundings. One plan may be substituted for one photograph only if the project is unusually complicated.
For urban design achievements, sketches and other evidence illustrating commissioned and adopted projects may be submitted if photographs are not possible. Exhibit 'before and after' photographs, if possible. For historic preservation achievements, at least one 'before' photograph of each project must be included with the photographs of the completed work.
No fewer than 7 and no more than 10 exhibits (5 of which must be completed projects) must be submitted for Object 2.
For education achievements under Object 2, photographs exhibiting the work of the candidate's students as well as the candidate's own built work, if applicable, should be included, as well as any educational tools developed.
For Object 3 through 5, it is important to include quality photographs of one or two of the candidate's best projects in addition to other exhibits that best support the nomination category.
For Objects 4 and 5, photographs and/or exhibits that best illustrate the particular contribution of the candidate should be included. In the case of candidates who are government employees and who act as the client to other designers, the work of those designers may be included with clear attribution assigned and the role of the candidate clearly identified.
Section 4: Reference Letters
First year candidates are expected to obtain seven reference letters, three additional references are allowed and strongly encouraged for second- and third-year candidates. These letters must be:
• on company letterhead (retired or Emeritus members may use personal
• electronically submitted as a .PDF file with the candidate's name in the subject line to HonorsAwards@aia.org by 5:00 pm Eastern time on October 16, 2015.
Former AIA national officers and Board members are permitted to write reference letters but they should be instructed not to use their old Board stationery. Use of Board stationery is restricted to current service only.
All Fellowship candidates and their sponsors will be notified by e-mail of the jury’s decisions on or before Monday, February 1, 2016. The national AIA Board of Directors, College of Fellows Executive Committee, College of Fellows Regional Representatives, and component executives will be notified after the candidates and sponsors have been contacted.
FAIA Selection Resources for Components
A step-by-step "how to" page for verifying membership eligibility is available on the For Leaders page.
The page includes how to run the reports necessary for verifying the 10 years of membership requirement as well as gives you access to the historical membership reports that pre-date the current membership database. The archives reports are a series of excel spreadsheets of members who had an active membership as an AIA or Assoc. AIA member in any year from the mid-1980s to 2007. It includes some, but not all, of members who lapsed prior to 1987. The “FAIA eligibility” field has been removed on member’s records in Net Forum due to its inaccuracy. Please contact Cedric Rush if you have any questions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Submission Site FAQs:
What if I want to make changes to my entry after I have completed my submission?
How will I know my submission has been received?
FAQ |Reference Letters (Section 4)
SECTION 4: REFERENCE LETTERS AND REFERENCE LETTER WRITERS
Who can and cannot serve as a reference?
• Members Emeritus can serve as a reference.
• Any AIA, FAIA, Honorary AIA (national designation), Honorary FAIA, Associate AIA, or Int’l Assoc. AIA member in good standing can serve as a reference EXCEPT:
• Exactly seven reference letters are required for first-year nominees; three additional references are allowed and strongly encouraged for second- and third-year nominees. These letters must be one-page, written on company letterhead (use personal stationary for retired or Emeritus members), signed, and electronically submitted as a PDF attachment with the candidate’s name in the subject line to email@example.com. Hard copy letters WILL NOT be accepted.
• For first-year candidates, five of the references must be AIA members in good standing. Be sure those five references are identified as " AIA”, “FAIA” , “Honorary AIA”, “Honorary FAIA”, “Associate AIA”, or “Int’l Assoc. AIA” members.
Can an individual be a reference for more than one candidate?
• Yes, but it is best if they are not already writing for several candidates, especially candidates who are in the same category of nomination. Otherwise, if they write for too many candidates, their word becomes less valued if they are writing to say that everyone is great, or an exceptional leader, etc.
Can you include more than the required number of references on your Section 4 Reference list to ensure that you end up with the required number of letters for your submission?
• NO. In the first year you must have exactly seven references, no more, no less. If you list eight or nine thinking if one of the first seven does not send a letter you can use one of the others, you will be wrong. The jury will only review the first seven names on the list. The same goes for the second- and third-year candidates. List only the number of references that you are allowed (Total of 7 references for first year; 10 for second year; 13 for third year).
Are additional or unsolicited letters of support allowed?
• Unsolicited letters of support will be accepted only from Current Officers, Officers-elect, and Regional Directors of the National AIA Board of Directors or the College of Fellows Executive Committee. They will receive a list of all Fellowship candidates, which will identify the candidate's component and category of nomination, and they may write on behalf of as many candidates as they choose. These are unsolicited letters. PLEASE DO NOT ask these members to write on your behalf.
• The Institute Secretary and Secretary-elect are not eligible to write unsolicited letters of support.
• All other letters received from individuals not listed on the reference list will not be filed in the candidate's nomination materials nor reviewed by the jury.
Will a late, two-page, or missing reference letter automatically disqualify a candidate for Fellowship?
• A late, two-page, or missing reference letter, in and of itself, will not automatically disqualify or prevent a candidate from receiving a full jury review nor prevent them from being elevated to Fellowship. If, however, the jury has questions about a candidate's qualifications, or a claimed achievement that has not been substantiated, the jury may argue that the missing reference letter might have contained the documentation that the jury needed to complete its evaluation. In that event, the jury could deny someone from being elevated to Fellowship in that year.
Can I eventually see copies of my reference letters?
FAIA reference letters are confidential for the lifetime of the Fellow or for 30 years, whichever is LATER. So letters for a 1975 Fellow who died in 2012 would come open on his death, but letters for another 1975 Fellow who died in 1980 would not come open until 2005. This is part of AIA’s retention schedule for records management.
In a consecutive resubmission, can a reference writer submit an updated reference letter?
• A reference may rewrite an original reference letter for 2nd and 3rd year candidates. The reference writer should indicate in the subject line of the email that this is a replacement letter so the staff will know to replace the old letter from the previous year with the new one.
To whom should reference letters be addressed?
Re: Candidate Name
Do not contact the AIA to ascertain if reference letters have been received. The volume is too great to determine which letters have been received during the open submission timeframe through the deadline. Request that your reference writers forward their email confirmation receipts to you and/or your sponsor to track this information or ask that the reference letter writer add the sponsor’s e-mail address in the cc line of your e-mail. We hit “reply all” which gives the sponsor the information they need to have when following up with the reference letter writers.
How long are reference letters kept on file?
• Reference letters are confidential. They are kept on file for the next consecutive year along with the three new reference letters but only if the candidate submits in a consecutive year. Any remaining letters on file once that year's candidate reference letters have been filed will be destroyed if the candidate does not resubmit in the consecutive year.
Candidates who decide to sit out one or more years before resubmitting must start over as a first-year candidate and must secure seven new reference letters. Candidates may retain the same individuals as reference writers but the references must submit new letters dated with the current year of nomination.
FAQ | Sponsors
• Sponsors must be FAIA or AIA members in good standing.
• Members Emeritus can serve as a sponsor.
• Current members of the National AIA Board of Directors or the College of Fellows Executive Committee cannot serve as sponsors. Current members of the Jury of Fellows or Honorary Fellows or those who served on the Jury of Fellows within the last three years cannot serve as sponsors nor can national or component staff.
Can the sponsor be from the candidate's firm?
• Yes, but if you select a sponsor that is from your firm, then it is best if you do not have anyone else from your firm serving as a reference writer.
Is it better if the sponsor is an FAIA member?
• Fellowship support is important. However, even more important is to select a sponsor that knows you and your accomplishments well. It will do you no good to have an FAIA serve as your sponsor if they cannot speak directly and specifically to your achievements and the impact you have had on the profession.
Does the sponsor have to be from your component?
• No, but you should select someone who will be able to meet with you and review your submission on a regular basis. The internet does make it possible for sponsors to receive documents and critique submission materials from afar, but if you use this method, please make sure that the sponsor receives a copy of the entire submission for review before you submit it to the jury. At least one cover-to-cover review will make it possible for the sponsor and/or the candidate to notice any discrepancies throughout the submission.
Can a member serve as a sponsor for more than one candidate?
• Yes, but you should be sure that the sponsor will have the time necessary to devote to assisting you with your submission in addition to any other candidate(s).
A person may sponsor more than one candidate but make sure they have the necessary time to devote to assisting you with your submission in addition to any others. It is not looked upon negatively but the jury will notice when this is the case and may question the value of the sponsor’s word if they are praising too many people as “the best” or “most qualified” candidate up for elevation.
Does the sponsor have to write a new letter each year?
• No, the sponsor letter is good for three consecutive submissions. You can certainly change it by changing the name to the current jury chair if you like but that is not necessary. If you do make changes to your submission, however, it is wise to review the sponsor letter to ensure that it still contains accurate statements that support the claims made in the submission.
Can a second or third year candidate change sponsors?
• Yes, candidates may change sponsors but they would also have to make changes on their Section 1 Summary Page and have it newly signed by the chapter president. If the new sponsor was originally one of the reference writers, second year candidates may secure a different reference writer and on the reference list where the original name was listed, they would insert after the new person's name "replaces (name) who is now serving as sponsor". This is the ONLY time a reference writer can be replaced. Reference letters from the original letter writer can be updated and substituted in the candidates file for 2nd and 3rd year candidates. (See Reference Section.)
Is there a maximum number of sponsors a candidate may have?
• Do not confuse a sponsor with a reference writer. You must be sponsored by either an AIA or FAIA member in good standing to assist you as you go through this process.
First year candidates are required to obtain seven reference letters, five of which must have an AIA designation (AIA, FAIA, Honorary AIA, Honorary FAIA, Associate AIA, or Int’l Assoc. AIA); second and third year candidates are allowed and strongly encouraged to obtain three additional references with no restriction on having an AIA designation.
How do we know that someone we want to select as our sponsor is in good standing?
• They should know if they are in good standing or you can contact Member Services or, 800-AIA-DUES for assistance.
How should a sponsor write their letter? Expanding on how great someone is obviously, but how much detail should they include? Should it be like the summary page?
• The sponsor letter is the first item in your submission package. It should be an introduction of you to the jury explaining who you are, what your claims are, and the reasons why you should be elevated to Fellowship. Your Summary of Achievements page should expand on this letter. The Sponsor’s Letter is the first item in your PDF file and the candidate will be disqualified if it is not part of the final PDF.
Examples of successful Fellowship submissions – includes 2015 Best Examples!
As always, should you have questions about your submission, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The deadline is October 16, 2015 before 5:00 Eastern time.