The names of 2016 Gold Medal recipients Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown are chiseled into the Gold Medal wall at AIA headquarters in Washington, DC.

The Gold Medal is the AIA’s highest annual honor, recognizing individuals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Considered one of the most prestigious awards in the architecture world, the Gold Medal has been received by well renowned architects such as Denise Scott Brown & Robert Venturi, Paul Revere Williams, Julia Morgan, or Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa.

Below is high-level information about the program criteria to help you determine if you are a good fit for the Gold Medal program. For full criteria and guidelines, please refer to the submission guide in the Resources tab.


The Gold Medal is open to a single individual, or two individuals who have created one body of distinguished architectural work.

  • Nominees may be living or dead at the time of submission.
  • Members of the AIA Board of Directors, Strategic Council, and members of their respective firms are ineligible to be nominated.
  • Members who have been found to have violated the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct and upon whom the penalties of either Censure or Suspension were imposed are ineligible to be nominated for this award.
  • Individuals whose membership was terminated due to a violation of the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct are ineligible to be nominated for this award.


Any component, Knowledge Community, or AIA member may make nominations for the Gold Medal.  Nominators are required to write a letter of support for the candidate that introduces the submission. Nominators also assist the candidate by acting as a point of contact for the reference writers and providing guidance as needed.

Finalist rollover

Finalists who are not selected may rollover their application materials to the next cycle for consideration in the initial pool of applicants.


Nominees are evaluated based on how their contributions have:

  • demonstrated great depth and breadth and had a cumulative effect on the profession of architecture.
  • addressed the future of architecture while honoring its tradition.
  • transcended or united specific areas of expertise.
  • become widely known—by architects, designers, educators, and the public—for the quality of their work.


  • Promotional recognition in AIA communication channels
  • Recipient(s) are typically invited participate in conference sessions and/or a keynote recognizing the Gold Medal.
  • Living recipients are automatically elevated to Fellowship, Honorary Membership, or Honorary Fellowship, as eligible.

Image credits