Beyond Walls-07

2021 Regional & Urban Design Recipient, Beyond Walls, Payette, Lynn, Mass.

Buildings never arise in isolation. The best planning accounts for the entire built environment, local culture, and available resources—modeling architecture’s promise and true value to communities. 

The Regional & Urban Design program recognizes the best in urban design, regional and city planning, and community development.

In 2019, the AIA adopted the Framework for Design Excellence as the set of guidelines and requirements to assess project performance. Climate action requires a holistic approach addressing the interdependence among people, buildings, infrastructure, and the environment. The Framework for Design Excellence provides the elements that support this vision during project evaluation. While projects submitted do not need to address all the measures included in the framework, they do need to highlight how they perform in this context and highlight relevant narratives and metrics when applicable.


  • owners, individual practitioners, private design firms, public agencies, civic organizations, and public interest groups can nominate projects or programs in which they were involved
  • a U.S.-licensed architect must be the author of the project
  • submitting architects do not have to be the head of the team
  • projects must credit every substantial contributor


  • urban design projects, planning programs, civic improvements, campus plans, environmental programs, redevelopment projects, or other similar projects and programs may be entered
  • individual buildings are not eligible
  • size and location of the project or program are not factors
  • incomplete or ongoing projects or programs may be entered if a significant portion has been completed, implemented, or adopted by a local jurisdiction or authority
  • if complete, projects must have been finished since January 1, 2018

Image credits

Beyond Walls-07

Warren Jagger