Call for Entries: 2023 Design Awards

Entries to the 2023 Design Awards program are now being accepted. AIA Virginia’s Awards for Excellence in Architecture (also known as the Design Awards) recognize outstanding design, built and unbuilt, from the past seven years. The program is juried by a team of esteemed practitioners from outside of the region.

Each entry will be judged on how successful the project is in meeting its individual requirements. Consideration is given to aesthetics, social impact, innovation, context, performance, and stewardship of the natural environment — with particular emphasis on the Framework for Design Excellence.

Each entry must include a completed Framework for Design Excellence Project Information Form as page one of their submission. Note: Entrants should not feel obligated to respond to every measure within the Framework — only those that apply to the project being submitted. It is understood that every project is different and may not respond to each measure within the Framework. The jury will consider each design holistically and within context.

No specific number of awards is set, and the program is open to all categories of building as well as interiors projects. The location of projects is not restricted, but any built works submitted for consideration must have been completed on or after Jan. 1, 2016. Enter online.

The Design Awards program is sponsored by:

Bamforth Engineers + Surveyors

Awards Categories include:

  • Architecture;
  • Design for Context;
  • Unbuilt Architecture
  • Extended Use;
    • Historic Preservation
    • Adaptive or Continued Use
  • Interiors;
  • Residential; and
  • Small Projects
    • Up to $150K in construction cost
    • Up to $500K in construction cost
    • Under 5,000 square feet

Check out the complete descriptions of each of the awards categories, and review the regulations, eligibility requirements, and frequently asked questions for more information.

Entries are due by 5 p.m. on June 28, 2023. Note: You should be prepared to submit your concealed ID and project submission upon entry.

Entry fees

AIA Virginia Members:
$190 for the first project
$160 for each additional project
The Small Projects Category has a reduced entry fee of $100
Note: The entrant must be a member of AIA Virginia to be eligible to receive the member discount. The submitting AIA Virginia member must be a contributor to the design team.

Non-members of the AIAVA (must have an office located in Virginia):
$245 for the first project
$220 for each additional project
The Small Projects Category has a reduced entry fee of $200

Not an AIA Virginia member? Apply for unassigned membership.

About the Framework for Design Excellence

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. They represent standards of excellence as defined by members of the AIA. These measures align with the AIA’s core values which are collectively defined by members across the country.

The completed Framework for Design Excellence Project Information Form is required and shall be page 1 of each submission. The remaining 6 pages of each submission may be designed and defined by the entrant.

Use the Project Narrative section to describe how the design aligns with the Framework for Design Excellence. Entrants are encouraged to address all applicable measures.

We recognize every project is different and may not respond to every measure within the Framework. The jury will consider the design holistically and within context.

Data may not be available for some metrics on the form, or the client may prefer to keep certain metrics confidential. If this is the case, space is provided on the form to provide an explanation.

Entrants are encouraged to call out extraordinary responses to specific measures in the remaining 6 pages of their submission as well.

ArchEx ’23: Call for Presentations

Architecture Exchange East is bringing together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers for AIA Virginia’s annual reunion of the profession.  And, we think you should have a seat at the table (or lectern, as the case may be). We’re seeking polished presenters as well as fresh voices to share their research and expertise at ArchEx ‘23 in person in Richmond on Nov. 1–3, 2023.

We really value sessions that encourage conversation, connections, and collaborative learning. Think workshops, roundtables, tours, and interactive panels. Many of our session slots will be 60 minutes, but we’ll also reserve longer time slots for more in-depth explorations. All confirmed speakers will receive a 50% discount on conference registration.

Help us design the best ArchEx experience yet — submit a proposal.    

Deadline is April 14. The proposal form is below.

2023 Prize Challenge Released

The 2023 AIA Virginia Prize competition kicks off the spring semester by offering students the opportunity to win a $2,000 prize. Three additional $300 “Best of School” prizes will also be awarded. The competition is a design charrette that engages students enrolled in accredited architecture programs in Virginia over the weekend of Feb. 10-13, 2023.

See the competition brief.

Easter 2023 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award Honoree

Virginia member and immediate past president of the Board of Directors, Robert L. Easter, FAIA, has been awarded the 2023 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award by the American Institute of Architects. The award distinguishes an architect or architectural organization that embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue, such as affordable housing, inclusiveness, or universal access. The Whitney M. Young Jr. Award is named for the civil rights activist who called out the lack of diversity in the profession and its silence on key issues during his 1968 address at the AIA annual convention. His remarks set in motion a series of initiatives intended to respond to his challenge.

From the AIA’s announcement:

Through his staunch advocacy and commitment to education, Robert L. Easter, FAIA, has continually proven himself to be a leader for all members of the profession who embody architecture’s progressive values and seek to shape our world for the better. Equally active in practice and the academy, Easter has embodied Whitney M. Young Jr.’s famous 1967 call to action, and he has worked tirelessly to ensure the profession becomes much more diverse and inclusive than he once found it.

Easter’s work to broaden diversity, equity, and inclusion began early in his career while he was a student at Virginia Tech. As a graduate student, he was instrumental in advancing a minority lecture series that introduced an overwhelmingly white design academy to the work of architects and planners of color. Later, while serving in the US Army Corps of Engineers as a senior instructor, he helped young officers with little design, math, or engineering backgrounds transition into the corps.

Following his service, Easter founded Kelso & Easter Architects in Richmond in 1983 and, shortly thereafter, was introduced to the National Association of Minority Architects (NOMA). NOMA recognized his energy and commitment, and Easter was swiftly elevated to serve in several of the organization’s national leadership positions, beginning with a three-year term as national secretary. In that role, he developed NOMA’s national newsletter, NOMANews, which still circulates today.

In 1992, he was elected to serve a two-year term as NOMA’s 15th president. During his tenure, he created the NOMA Council to recognize the extraordinary contributions its members have made to the profession. After forging an alliance with South Africa’s design community, Easter helped create a sister organization to NOMA there and traveled to Johannesburg to meet with its leadership, facilitate sessions with the South African Institute of Architects, and discuss terms for cooperative leadership. Additionally, Easter worked to advance critical research and documentation of African American architects in the U.S. and partnered with AIA and other organizations to establish AIA’s first diversity conference.

After nearly 30 years of practice, Easter returned to Hampton University, where he completed his undergraduate studies, to become chair of its architecture department. He inherited an excellent program that needed to adjust its professional direction, specifically to prepare students for their eventual licensure. In his nearly 15 years as chair, Easter has promoted licensure as the highest priority and responsibility for graduates, interweaving IDP and now AXP requirements into the professional practice curriculum. He has also secured funding for a lecture series that introduces students to renowned Black architects, and he leverages his relationships with peers to provide mentorship opportunities that help graduates become familiar with new professional environments.

In 2017, Easter was invited to attend the AIA Large Firm Roundtable/Dean’s Forum at Tulane University, where he made an impassioned plea to the firms leading the profession to embrace their social responsibility regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Easter hosted the roundtable at Hampton University in 2019 and was asked to join its Diversity Task Force, where he penned a position paper that offered a foundational understanding of the challenges to diversifying the profession. He also connected the roundtable’s leadership to NOMA, igniting a dialogue on strategies firms could use to bolster their diversity profiles.

More recently, Easter shaped a proposal for the roundtable to better assist minority-serving institutions, particularly historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The impact of his work has been significant: Many of the roundtable’s firms have committed to partnering with HBCU programs and have changed their recruiting process. Additionally, the roundtable has entered into a memorandum of understanding with NOMA to support scholarships and sponsor K-12 outreach efforts.”