Thursday, February 29, 2024

Design Awards


The Design Awards recognize design excellence of built and unbuilt work in
Connecticut or in
other locations by Connecticut-based firms.

2023 Design Awards Jurors

Grace Kim, FAIA
Schemata Workshop, Inc.
Seattle, WA

Ashley Rao, AIA, LEED AP, CPHC
Associate Principal
Leers Weinzapfel Associates
Boston, MA

Stephen Schreiber, FAIA
Professor & Chair
UMass Amherst, Dept. of Architecture
Amherst, MA

Thomas Tumelty, RA, AIA, LEED GA
Foster + Partners
New York, NY


  • Architects licensed and residing in Connecticut may submit projects located anywhere.
  • Architects whose practice is located outside Connecticut may submit projects located in Connecticut.
  • Architectural interns and students are eligible only for the Unbuilt and the Architecture: The Encompassing Art categories

Registration Opens June 12
Registration Deadline: July 28

Submissions Deadline: September 8


Residential Design
Single family residences, additions, and accessory buildings (new or remodeled). Projects previously submitted to the Alice Washburn Awards Program may also be submitted to this category.

Interior Architecture
Projects of any interior scope that may be new construction, renovation, preservation, rehabilitation, reconstruction, or restoration.

Commercial, Institutional, Educational, or Multi-Family Residential Design
Both public and private projects. Can be single buildings or a related group of buildings forming a single project, renovations, and additions. Two categories of awards will be considered in this category:

  1. Small: under 25,000sf 
  2. Large: over 25,000sf

Planning: Community, Campus, Town and Urban
Projects that include more than a single structure and engage the private and public realms of the built environment. Two categories of awards will be considered in this category:

  1. Village and Small-Town scale: built or natural environment (public space)
  2. Large or more dense Urban: built or natural environment (public space)

Architecture: The Encompassing Art
Includes but is not limited to: designs for such details as hardware, stairways, railings, graphics, lighting or fixtures, furniture, scholarly research, environmental or energy research, urban planning analyses, or technical innovations.

Adaptive Re-Use
Buildings 50 years or older, both public and private projects. Can be single buildings or a related group of buildings forming a single project, renovations, restorations, and additions.

Unbuilt Design
Unbuilt architectural designs, for which there is no current intent to build, of any project type, including purely theoretical or visionary projects, with or without a client.

Submission Requirements

  • Submitted projects must have been completed within the last 5 years. “Completed” is defined as “Substantial Completion” in accordance with standard AIA Contracts.
  • The entrant is to select a single category for their projects - entries that fall into more than one category must be assigned to only one category.
  • Submissions are to be composed through the OpenWater platform (link below)
    • Registration Round
      • Ascribe a Project Title to your submission and select the awards category (from the list above) for submission.
      • Do not identify the Owner, architects, or designers. 
    • Submission Round
      • Do not include any identifying firm information in ANY PART of your submission. This includes file names because they are visible to jurors. Submissions with identifying information will automatically be disqualified.
      • Provide a clear and concise project narrative (maximum of 300 words) that includes the following:
        • the location of the Project and its year of completion
        • if appropriate, a description of sustainable features (in an additional 100 words or less)
        • List all certifications or sustainable building standards that have be met. If listed, provide the metrics that demonstrate building performance
      • Maximum of 15, minimum of 10 photos
        • Interior and exterior images are strongly encouraged
        • Site Plans are strongly encouraged and are to have a scale and north arrow
        • Floor plans, elevations, and sections as required to describe your project
        • All photography permissions and releases are the responsibility of the submitting architect whose project has been selected. If the Project is recognized with an award, additional individual high-res photographs may be required from the submitter
      • Collaboration acknowledgements (this section is clearly labeled on the application and WILL NOT be visible to the jury)
        • Identification of the Project designers, Owner, and all additional credits is requested as part of the submission materials.
        • Provide credit to the full design team and contractor(s). If certain subcontractors played important roles, they should also be credited

Check out AIA Pittsburgh's webinar How to Create a Great Design Awards Submission. While their submission process is not the same as AIA Connecticut's, this video is a great resource for putting together a standout award package for your project.

Judging Criteria

The Design Award jury consists of peers who are located outside of the State of Connecticut.  The Jurors will take into consideration and acknowledge:

  • Design excellence
  • Meeting or exceeding client program needs
  • Intersectional achievement such as design excellence plus elements that address diversity and equity, sustainability, health and well-being, technical innovation, etc.
  • Sustainability in theory, detail, or practice