Submission Guidelines


December 4, 5:00pm Extended to December 11, 5:00pm
Submission Deadline

January 11, 6:00pm
Winners announced at Design Awards Jury Symposium

April 15, 11:30am*
Honors and Awards Luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street

April 15, 6:00pm*
Design Awards Exhibition on View

*Dates and locations subject to change due to the ongoing pandemic.

Award Categories

Awards will be granted in five categories:

Architecture –  Recognizes design excellence in completed buildings.
Interiors – Recognizes design excellence in building interiors and related architectural work, as well as new and improved approaches to building components and architectural products.
Urban Design – Recognizes the most compelling work and ideas, both built and unbuilt, that confront and resolve environmental and urban challenges at a scale larger than that of an individual building.
Projects – Recognizes temporary structures, conceptual work, pavilions, and research. Work in this category does not need to be intended for construction. Projects undertaken for academic credit are not eligible. Entries to competitions will be considered.
Sustainability – Recognizes excellence in ecological stewardship, including reduced environmental impact and reduced energy consumption, as well as attention to quality of life issues, resiliency, and community engagement within the urban environment.

Award levels for all categories:

• Honor Award – Represents the highest level of achievement.
• Merit Award – Represents distinguished achievement.
• Citation – Represents exemplary achievement in a specific aspect of a project.
• Best in Competition – Jurors may select one entry among the Honor Award recipients across all categories to receive this unique recognition.

Judging Criteria

We strongly encourage submissions that reflect a broad and inclusive definition of design excellence. Each entry is judged for the success with which it has met its individual requirements. Submissions must exhibit design achievement that demonstrates exemplary skill and creativity in the resolution and integration of formal, functional, and technical requirements, including ecological stewardship and social responsibility. Submissions should also reflect a strong sense of place, history, and purpose.

Submissions may be exemplary in the following areas (including, but not limited to):

• Best of Typology, including outstanding achievement in building type (i.e. education, affordable housing, justice, healthcare, community facility, historic preservation, corporate interiors, high-rise, commercial retail. etc.)
• Technical Advancement, including engineering achievements (i.e. structural, mechanical, transportation, computer, etc.) as well as innovative use of materials and urban systems.
• Innovation and Research, including projects investigating design advocacy, cross-disciplinary research, pilot projects, public service, and theoretical propositions.
• Preservation/Restoration, including the demonstration of exemplary skill, sensitivity, and thoroughness in preservation, restoration, or adaptive reuse and/or sensitive reinforcement of successful historical development patterns.


Category Eligibility
• Architecture – Registered architects only
• Interiors – Registered architects only
• Sustainability – Registered architects only
• Urban Design – Registered architects, Associate and International Associate AIA members. AIANY local member at these levels are also eligible: Corporate, Corresponding, and Allied Professional.
• Projects – Registered architects, Associate and International Associate AIA members. AIANY local member at these levels are also eligible: Corporate, Corresponding, and Allied Professional.

Who is eligible?
• AIA New York members who are registered architects are eligible regardless of project location or architect’s residence.
• Registered architects practicing in New York City are eligible regardless of the project’s location.
• Work located in New York City designed by any registered architect is eligible regardless of the architect’s residence, location of primary office or membership status.
• Registered architects who are Members of other AIA Chapters are eligible to submit any project if they become or currently are Corresponding Members of AIA New York.
• Associate and International Associate AIA New York members may submit projects in the Urban Design and Projects categories only.

What projects are eligible?
• Architecture and Interiors projects completed after January 1, 2016.
• Sustainability projects completed after January 1, 2016 and in operation for at least one year.
• All completed New York State projects must credit New York State licensed architect of record.
• Urban Design and Projects submissions must have been initiated after January 1, 2016.
• Prior winning projects in any category may not be resubmitted.

Registration and Submission
The Design Awards submissions process is completely digital. Any references to architects and designers on any images, plans, narrative, file names, or supplemental materials will disqualify a submission.

Entry Fees

$200 AIA New York members
$200 AIA New York Corporate, Corresponding, and Allied Professionals
$100 Associate AIA and International Associate AIA members
$500 other registered architects

Project Credits

The architect or firm of record, associate architects, project team, consultants, client, and general contractor must be credited. Client names will be withheld from publication upon request.

For restoration, renovation, and adaptive reuse of existing buildings, the original architect must be identified.

Submissions done as an employee or consultant must include a release from a principal of the firm acknowledging that the submitting architect had primary design responsibility and that the credits are correct.


AIA New York will publicly announce the winners of the Design Awards at the January 11th Jury Symposium. All winners will be recognized for their achievements at the Honors and Awards Luncheon on April 15th at Cipriani Wall Street. Winning projects will be presented at a Design Awards exhibition at the Center for Architecture and will be published in a special spring awards issue of Oculus magazine.


Award recipients shall be notified regarding exhibition materials following the jury symposium and announcement of the winners on January 11. The 2021 Design Awards exhibition will open on April 15 and will remain on view through early summer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I would like to submit a project that is in Boston, MA. The project architect is registered as an architect in New York state, a member of AIA Pennsylvania, and located in our Philadelphia office. Would this project be eligible for submission to the AIA New York awards program?

A: This project can only be eligible if the Registered Architect becomes a Corresponding Member of AIA New York. Contact Joseph Corbin at with any additional questions about joining.

Q: Our project won as an “Unbuilt” project in the 2011 Design Awards. Can we submit this as a completed project for another category in the 2021 Design Awards?

A: No. Prior winning projects in any category may not be resubmitted.

Q: My project was built in Singapore. I am a Registered Architect with an office in New York City. May I submit my project for the 2020 Design Awards? I am not a member of AIA.

A: Yes. You may submit under the $500 “Registered Architects” fee.

Q: Does the AIANY Design Awards accept unbuilt projects?

A: Yes. These projects are eligible for the Urban Design and Projects categories only.

Q: Our projects are all built in Upstate New York. Our Registered Architect is a member of AIA New York State. Can we submit our projects?

A: You may submit only if the Registered Architect becomes a Corresponding Member of AIA New York. Contact Joseph Corbin at with any additional questions about joining.

Q: I am an Associate Member. Can I submit for the Architecture, Interiors, or Sustainability categories?

A: You may ask the Registered Architect who signed off on the project to submit the project and include you/your firm as collaborators. If the RA is not an AIA New York member, the registration fee will be $500; if they are an AIA New York member, $200.

Q: Are we allowed more than one image per page in the Submission Upload, or only one image per page with a max of 16 pages?

A: You may have multiple images per page, but individual images smaller than one-quarter of a page are not recommended.

Q: What should be written in the “Specific Use of Project” section?

A: . The “Specific Use of Project” section allows you to expand further if there are specific aspects that you would like to highlight. Essentially especially if the project includes sustainable or energy reducing features that may have a more technical aspect.


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