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AIASC has a long tradition of recognizing individuals, organizations, and projects for exemplifying the very best in architecture. The AIA believes that awards programs should be carefully structured so that selection and recognition of honorees serve two distinct purposes: one directed to the profession, and the other, to the public. By focusing attention on activity within the profession, the general quality of architectural practice is elevated. By informing the public on the breadth and value of architectural practice, the entire profession is held in higher esteem. AIASC achieves this purpose by establishing and sponsoring the following awards: 

I.  Design Awards - Professional

  • New Construction Award
    • Under 5,000 SF
    • Over 5,000 SF
  • Small Projects – NEW!
  • Urban Design/Master Planning – NEW!
  • Robert Mills Residential Design Award
    • Residential New Construction
      • Under $1,000,000
      • Over $1,000,000
    • Residential Renovation or Addition
      • Under $500,000
      • Over $500,000
  • Adaptive Reuse/Preservation Award
  • Interior Architecture Award
  • Unbuilt Project Award
  • 25 Year Award – NEW!

II.  Design Awards - Student

  • Student Award

III. Chapter Awards - Members

  • Associate Award
  • Firm Award
  • Medal of Distinction
  • Social Justice Award (also open to nonmembers)

IV. Chapter Awards - Nonmembers

  • Patron Award
  • Community Collaboration Award

See the "Categories" tab on the website for descriptions of each of the Design Awards and the Chapter Awards subcategories.

FRAMEWORK FOR DESIGN EXCELLENCE (for Professional Design Awards only)
Developed by members of the AIA, the Framework for Design Excellence represents the defining principles of good design in the 21st century. It’s intended to be accessible and relevant for every architect, every client, and every project — regardless of size, typology, or aspiration. The 10 measures that make up the Framework are intended to inspire progress toward a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment.

New this year, entrants in the AIASC Design Awards are encouraged to provide a description of how their project addresses at least 1 of the 10 measures with a short description not to exceed 150 words for each measure the project fulfills. Entrants will have the opportunity to select which of the 10 measures they’d like to address by answering any of the questions below on the submission form. The AIASC Design Awards Jury may award a special citation for projects that demonstrate design excellence in addressing one or more of the 10 principles of the Framework.

  1. Design for Integration: What is the big idea behind this project and how did sustainability inform the design concept?
  2. Design for Equitable Communities: How does this project contribute to creating a walkable, human-scaled community inside and outside the property lines?
  3. Design for Ecosystems: In what ways does the design respond to the ecology of its place?
  4. Design for Water: How does the project relate to the regional watershed?
  5. Design for Economy: How does the project efficiently meet the program and design challenges and provide “more with less”?
  6. Design for Energy: Is the project energy-efficient and sustainable while improving building performance, function, comfort, and enjoyment?
  7. Design for Wellness: How does the design promote the health of the occupants?
  8. Design for Resources: How did the design team optimize the amount and makeup of material used on the project?
  9. Design for Change: Is the building resilient, and able to easily accommodate other uses in 50-100 years?
  10. Design for Discovery: What lessons for better design have been learned through the process of project design, construction, and occupancy, and how have these been incorporated in subsequent projects?

Click here to learn more about the Framework.

SUSTAINABILITY (for Professional Design Awards only) - NEW!

AIA 2030 Commitment Project Commendation– checkbox on submission form
The Design Awards Jury will bestow this commendation on projects that demonstrate meeting the criteria of the AIA 2030 Commitment. The project would have to have been submitted to the AIA 2030 Commitment with at least an 80% fossil fuel reduction.

Click here to learn more about AIA 2030 Commitment.

Zero-Carbon Project Commendation– checkbox on submission form
The Design Awards Jury will bestow this commendation on projects that have achieved “zero-carbon” energy balance of carbon-free energy consumption.

In a ZNC building, carbon-based energy consumption is reduced first through building design strategies and efficiency measures, then through on-site renewable energy generation, and finally through procurement of locally produced off-site renewable energy.

By establishing a zero-carbon, this ZNC definition can apply to all new and existing building types including those with limited on-site renewable energy capacity, such as buildings in dense urban environments. 

Click here to learn more about Zero-Carbon. 

All entries in the Design Awards - Professional category group shall be projects executed and designed by AIASC members, or project teams consisting of at least one AIASC member in good standing and with an office in South Carolina. Projects may have been executed anywhere in the United States or abroad and must have been substantially completed after January 1, 2018. The number of entries submitted by a firm or individual is not limited. Projects that have previously won an AIASC award are not eligible in that category. All projects, regardless of size, budget, style, building type, or location are eligible. Entries are welcomed and encouraged from both established and new practitioners at any size firm.

All entries in the Design Awards - Student category shall be projects executed and designed by students currently enrolled in an architecture degree program, or those who have graduated after January 1, 2022. Students may enter individually or in teams and must be sponsored by an instructor or professor who is an AIASC member in good standing. 

All nominations for the Chapter Awards–Member and Chapter Awards-Nonmember shall be made by an AIASC member in good standing.  All nominees for a Chapter Award-Member must be a member of AIASC in good standing.

Unpaid Labor Declaration Policy for Design Awards Entrants
If you cannot answer 'Yes' to the Unpaid Labor Declaration Policy below, you are not eligible to submit for the Design Awards. Please contact adrienne@aiasc.org should you have any questions concerning our Unpaid Labor Declaration policy.

“The firm does not utilize, employ, or otherwise engage labor that is unpaid, including working students, and neither does any firm of which the candidate is an owner or manager, in part or in whole.

The firm acknowledges this wording shall cover all persons working under their employ, regardless of position or title. Exceptions recognized by Federal law (such as legally defined internships or educational cooperative programs) are exempt from this Policy.

The firm further acknowledges that they have not utilized any unpaid labor as defined above for any work submitted for this awards program. The submitter personally acknowledges adherence to the terms of this Policy.”

The 2023 AIASC Design Awards Jury Chair is Matt Seltzer, AIA, principal with archimania in Memphis, TN.

The Design Awards Jury will convene in September 2023. Awards will be presented during the AIASC Annual Meeting & Awards Celebration in Columbia on November 2, 2023.

June 30, 2023             Awards portal opens at https://aiascawards.secure-platform.com/a 
July 28, 2023              Deadline for early bird discounted entry fees. 
August 25, 2023         Submissions must be completed no later than 11:59 p.m. ET


Click here to download a copy of the 2023 Call for Entries