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Institute Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design

The Institute Honor Awards program recognizes achievements for a broad range of architectural activity in order to elevate the general quality of architectural practice, to establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance, and to inform the public expectations for architectural practice, its breadth, and its value.

Visit our new history page to search for past Honor Award recipients!




Owners, individual practitioners, private design firms, public agencies, civic organizations, and public interest groups may submit nominations for projects or programs in which they were involved. Entrants do not need to be architects or members of the AIA, but an architect licensed in the United States must be an author of the project.

Entries may be urban design projects, planning programs, civic improvements, campus plans, environmental programs, or redevelopment projects. Projects should not be individual buildings.

Since many urban design projects are never completed in the traditional sense, incomplete projects or ongoing programs may be recognized if a significant portion has been completed, implemented, or adopted by a local jurisdiction or authority.

Project authorship will remain concealed throughout the deliberations of the jury. If the authorship is revealed on any of the images, plans, or narrative, the entry will be disqualified.

2016 Call for Entries

View the 2016 Call for Entries

2016 Deadline & Entry Fee

The deadline for 2016 submissions has passed. Please check back in the Spring of 2016 for information on the 2017 program.

A non-refundable entry fee of $425 for members and $850 for non-members must be paid online.

2016 Jury


Robert Herman, FAIA (Chair)
EDA Architects
Salt Lake City

Christine Dunn, AIA
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Mayor Nelda Martinez
City of Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi

Joel Tomei, FAIA
Joel Tomei, Architect, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
San Francisco

Christine Vina, AIA
VIA Metropolitan Transit
San Antonio

Submission Preview

Carefully review the 2016 AIA Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design 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.

Submission Criteria

Each entry in the Institute Honor Awards program is judged for the success with which the project has met its individual requirements. Entries are weighed individually – not in competition with each other.

Projects must exhibit:

Design Achievement, can be evidenced by the exploration of new approaches to ecological planning, urban form or by the sensitive reinforcement of successful historical development patterns. Entries should address ecological issues by describing (with graphics preferably) how the design captures, collects, stores and distributes resident renewable resources and energies.

In addition to design achievement, projects may be exemplary in the following subcategories:

Technical Advancement, includes engineering achievements (structural, mechanical, transportation, computer, etc.) as well as innovative use of materials.

Preservation/Restoration, includes demonstration of exemplary skill, sensitivity and thoroughness in preservation, restoration and/or the alternative or adaptive reuse of existing buildings regardless of their original architectural significance.

Other, in addition to the subcategories selected, project demonstrates significant intentions outside of those detailed above.

For preservation/restoration projects it is especially important to provide the jury with sufficient information to differentiate between the original architects’ work and the newly altered, preserved, or restored work.

Projects are strongly encouraged to meet the expectations set with our “Public Policy: Architects are Environmentally Responsible” Position statement on page 18. As well they are encouraged to meet the AIA 2030 Commitment, which currently call for a minimum 70% reduction in energy use from regional baselines.

Project Information: Please describe your project (maximum of 500 words) emphasizing the elements of design achievement as defined in the Judging Criteria. Include a statement of the problem and its goals, size, cost, and implementation schedule (as applicable); include a brief description of the design process and community involvement and acceptance.

Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation: Describe (maximum of 500 words) how these strategies are integrated within the project’s overall design goals and how the following elements have been integrated within the overall design solution and/or expression.

    • Land use, site ecology and biodiversity

    • Community-based agriculture (where applicable)

    • Waste management and recycling

    • Social equity (e.g. affordable housing, community-supporting services, etc.)

Energy: A brief summary of energy and carbon reduction strategies embodied within the proposal.

    • Predicted reduction in overall community EUI compared to current or equivalent conditions

    Predicted percent (%) contribution from integrated, community-based renewable resources

Community Connectivity: A brief summary of community and public transit connectivity, plus metrics.

    • Parking spaces per occupant

    • Automobile Trip Reduction

    WalkScore rating

Water: A brief summary of water use strategies, including storm and waste water management and potable water use, plus metrics.

    • Percent (%) precipitation managed on site

    • Percent (%) waste water reused on site

    • Percent (%) regulated potable water reduction from baseline

Upload Requirements

    • Project images must be submitted in a single .PDF file not to exceed 10 MB and 26 pages.

    • 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.

    • Include drawings, images, models, and/or sketches showing urban design issues and key urban design concepts (emphasizing process and implementation).

    • Provide additional conceptual diagrams and site plans (including North arrow) sufficient to illustrate the complete project.

Additional Tips

    • Composite pages are acceptable.

    • Text/notes on images/drawings are allowed.

    • Indicate the scale used on any drawings or plans.

    • Any material you feel relevant to explain your project should be included within your submission. External links to documents (comprehensive master plans, civic reports, etc.) are an acceptable method of supplying additional material should you feel it is significant and vital for the jury to examine, but they are not required to review these items.

    • Use of the maximum page limit is strongly recommended.

    • Consistent use of either a horizontal or portrait landscape is encouraged throughout the submission.

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 submission completion was August 21, 2015 before 5:00 PM Eastern.

Questions may be directed to

Past Recipients

2015 Recipients

2014 Recipients

2013 Recipients


Elizabeth Henry
Director, AIA Awards
1735 New York Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20006


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