Design Awards

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Submission Guidelines

Submission deadline for the Design Awards is Friday, September 3, 2021.
Entry Fee, Forms, and Submittals are due by 5:00pm.

The AIA Houston Design Awards program recognizes design excellence in architecture, residential architecture, interior architecture, restoration/renovation, and urban design. Criteria to be used by the jury include quality of design, resolution of the program idea, sustainable responsibility, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique.

Projects located in the Houston metropolitan area designed by an architect registered in the US, or projects, regardless of location, designed by an architect registered in Texas practicing in the Houston metropolitan area. Built projects must have been completed after August 1, 2016 except for special requirements in the Urban Design category. On projects where construction is phased, only completed phases are eligible. Where one firm is not the sole author, all participants in the design work must be credited on the Entry Form. AIA Houston reserves the right to disqualify any entry not submitted in accordance with the rules.

If there are architectural elements that were pre-existing on the project and designed by another architect, that architect should be identified on the entry form. For instance, an addition to an existing building should identify the architect of the existing building where practicable and should clearly delineate for the jurors the addition from what existed before the project.

Built projects may be submitted for recognition in the following categories. The jury may move a project to a different category. LEED, AIA COTE guidelines, or other demonstrable environmental response should be included with each entry and will be considered in judging.

  • Architecture Greater Than 50,000 SF
  • Architecture Less Than 50,000 SF
  • Residential Architecture
    Residential projects include single-family houses and multi-family projects up to 20 units. Large scale apartment or condominium projects must be submitted under Architecture.
  • Interior Architecture
  • Renovation/Restoration
    Restoration, renovation, or rehabilitation to existing buildings including adaptive reuse. A non integrated addition to an existing building should be submitted under Architecture.
  • Divine Detail
    Recognizes architectural ingenuity in the use of a particular material, detail, or building technology.


  • Urban Design
    Urban Design projects must have an active client. Submittals may include urban design projects, planning programs, civic improvements, environmental programs, and redevelopment projects. Portions of the project must be under implementation; however, the whole project need not to be completed. Project Description must include implementation schedule.
  • On The Boards
    This category is for unrealized or uncompleted work for an active client.
  • Conceptual
    This category is for conceptual work not for an active client.

NOTE: Student submissions are welcome, but must have a faculty sponsor.


1. One project presentation PDF

  • A PDF file containing a maximum of 21 pages (20 pages + one sustainability page* - see below), with a file size no larger than 20 MB. 4:3 aspect ratio is recommended. Submittals may not contain transitions, sound, animation, video clips, panorama movies, hyperlinks, or links to other files. Images must be a minimum of 150 DPI.
  • Do not identify architects or designers in the file name or on any image.
  • Preexisting architectural elements not designed as part of the project, but visible in the images, should be clearly marked as preexisting and the prior architect should be credited.
  • For all projects (except Interior Architecture) include a site plan or aerial photography.
  • All plans and elevations should be clearly marked with a north arrow or directional identification.
  • For Renovation/Restoration projects, indicate pre-existing conditions with plans and/or photographs.
  • For Interior Architecture projects, include floor plans and one exterior photograph of the building for reference.

2. One project image

  • A 7" x 5", 250 DPI image. The image will be used for the Design Awards Publication, in which all submittals will be published.

3. One sustainability page 

  • Please include one slide detailing the sustainability efforts of your project (the sustainability checklist will be used as a reference; you do not need to assign points like last year).

4. One sustainability checklist - download here.

5. One project description

  • No more than 250 words. The description should include program requirements, sustainability goals, and design solutions.



Links will open on Wednesday, July 28.  Entry is not complete until you fill out the registration form AND upload your entry via Submittable)

1. Complete the 2021 Registration Form.  Fill in all the fields and submit payment for your entry.

2. Download and complete the 2021 Sustainability Checklist. This will be filled out and uploaded to Submittable with your entry.

3. Visit the Submittable Portal to upload your entry.