AIA Honors & Awards

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2014 AIA Twenty-Five Year award recipient, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC - Harry Weese & Associates

AIA recognizes and celebrates the best buildings and spaces, and the people behind them, with some of the most prestigious awards in the built environment.

Through more than thirty programs, AIA Honors & Awards highlights best practices and recognize exemplary projects, engages and supports members in the diverse practice of the profession, and opens opportunities to collaborate among peers and colleagues in the built environment.

Discover how the Framework for Design Excellence has been integrated into our project-based awards >

Honors and Awards Program

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Additional awards information

When will the award open?

All of the AIA Honors & Awards are on a cycle, visit the schedule for a general idea of when the award in question will open and close. For specific information on awards visit the award’s page.

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What is the deadline?

The deadline for all AIA Honors & Awards programs vary. Specific deadlines for each award can be found on the individual program pages. To access these pages, select an award from the drop-down above.. All awards will close at 5pm ET on their deadline.

Can I get an extension on my application?

Due to the nature of our programs we cannot offer any extensions on submissions that are incomplete at the deadline.

All awards deadlines are strictly observed, and an extension will not be granted. Please note that all awards submissions are due on the day that is listed by 5pm ET time.

Do I have to be an AIA member to apply?

For most project-based programs you do not have to be an AIA member to apply. Fees for each program may vary for members vs. non-members to apply.  

Do I have to be an architect to apply?

The architect submitting the application for most project-based programs must be a US-licensed architect. For the specific program in question please review the program page in the drop-down above.

Do I need to be nominated to apply?

For the programs honoring architects there is usually a required nominator or sponsor who is required to be an AIA member. For the specific program in question please review the program’s page.

How do I apply?

Coming soon you will find a sample application for each program on their respective pages. The sample application will provide you with all the information you will need to start putting together a submission before the award is open.

Once an award is open for you can begin your submission. Applications are only accepted through the submission portal.

How do I fill out the Framework for Design Excellence?

If you are applying to any of the AIA project-based awards and are looking for the Framework for Design Excellence Metrics Scorecard, detailed instructions are included on the online submission form. Please read them carefully, complete the associated digital form, and upload the results to your submission. You will not find the instructions on the last section of the submission form or on the reference pdf.

How do I apply for Fellowship?

Please visit the Fellowship page for specific FAQs and criteria for applying.

Are reference letters required? How are they collected? Are they confidential?

All reference letters are to remain confidential. Reference letters are required for people-based awards and are collected through our online submission platform. In your application enter the writer's name and email address and send the request. Your writer will receive an email from honorsawards@aia.org with the subject "Candidate's NameReference Letter Request" with instructions for the letter and a link to the site for upload.

Who are reference letters addressed to?

All reference letters should be addressed to the Jury Chair, if not indicated by the time the award opens. If the jury has been announced, the letter can be addressed to the jury chair by name.

How long are reference letters kept on file?

Reference letters for successful candidates are archived with the submission. Unsuccessful applications reference letters are kept on file for the year of the application.

Can I eventually see copies of my reference letters?

Reference letters are confidential for the lifetime of a successful applicant or for 30 years, whichever is later. Letters for a 1975 submitter who died in 2012 would come open on his/her death, but letters for another 1975 submitter who died in 1980 would not come open until 2005. This is part of AIA’s retention schedule for records management.

Unsuccessful submission reference letters remain confidential.

Can more than one photo be shown on a page?

Photo collage are acceptable but it is important that there are not too many images on a page or images that are too small for the jury to discern important details.

Do I need interior photography or night time photography?

Awards have different requirements regarding the kinds of photography the jury would like to see, detailed in their individual submissions. Interior shots are requested, and highly recommend, in most project based programs. Night time shots are requested of projects that operate at night, if your project does not operate at night then they are not necessary to include in a submission.

How are winners recognized?

In recent years, we have captured recognition of our award winners in a holistic way and have a celebration of all award recipients of our 30+ awards program at a reception during our annual conference.

What should the Copyright file look like?

Yes, all the photos, drawings, works in the submission must be accounted for in the copyright pdf. This includes the photos for AIA.org. This is true for all applications whether you hold greater right or not.

View example >

I took the photo from a website, does that need to be included in the copyright file?

Yes. There’s a common misconception that if it is on the internet, it’s public domain. This is not true. Any materials captured from a website need to be included in the copyright. Please provide the website name, web address, copyright date, and date of access on the copyright file.

I am referencing a publication in my submission how do I provide that information for the copyright file?

The typical copyright information should be provided: Title, publisher, author, date of publication. If you are referencing a specific page or article in from the publication, please provide that information as well.

Does the jury see the copyright file?

No, the jury does not see the file. The file is for the records should you be recognized with the award.

How should the copyright file be formatted?

As long as you provide the requested information including the thumbnail and page number organize it as make sense for your submission. For example, if you had 2 photographers for the bulk of the photography and want to group the photos accordingly because that makes sense, please do that. If it makes sense to go photo by photo, through your application that is also an acceptable format.

How are the submissions reviewed? Is there a preferred format for the submissions?

Submissions are reviewed by the jury for consistency to criteria set for the program. The format for submissions vary for individual programs and specific requirements are requested in the ‘upload materials for jury review’ portion of the submission form.

The directions say it needs to be 8.5x11 pages is this true?

Yes, unless otherwise indicated submissions must be on 8.5x11 pages, other sizes will be disqualified. This is for jury review and to your benefit as a candidate. 11x17 pages at half the count required, doesn’t help the jury, the spend a lot of time trying to read the whole page which is not helpful to your application.

Portrait? Landscape? Spread?

The easiest for the jury to review is in landscape format. Portrait is acceptable if that works for you. The system does not share spreads in the spread format, breaking your formatting, which is unfortunate.

Does the cover page count against my page count? What about Section covers?

These are unnecessary and aren’t helpful to jury review, but will not count against page limits. The jury does benefit from exhibit and reference lists, which can serve as section covers.

Can I see previously successful submissions?

For review of previously successful submissions, please contact the AIA Archivist at archives@aia.org.

How will I find out if my submission was successful?

Each program notification period varies based on our method of notification. Please see our schedule tab for an estimated time of awards notification.

What is a disqualification?

Universal disqualifications for all AIA Honors & Awards programs include, pages larger than 8.5x11 inches, incomplete unpaid labor,  and code of ethics and professional conduct attestations, and contacting a jury member. Each program will have additional disqualifications to be aware of.

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