Call for Entries: 2024 Design Awards

Entries to the 2024 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. (Note on the form itself – make sure all of your entry text is visible from the PDF before uploading.)

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, 2017. Enter online.

The Design Awards program is sponsored by:

Bamforth Engineers + Surveyors
Epic Metals

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 award category, and review the regulations, eligibility requirements, and frequently asked questions for more information.

Entries are due by 5 p.m. on June 28, 2024. Note: You should be prepared to submit your concealed ID and project submission upon entry.

Entry fees

AIA Virginia Members:
$210 for the first project
$180 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):
$295 for the first project
$270 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.

Call for Nominations: AIA Virginia Honors 2024

Do you have a colleague who deserves recognition? Is there a firm with a great culture that consistently produces incredible work? Is there a building that has captured your heart? Consider nominating them for an award in AIA Virginia’s 2024 Honors Awards program.  

The Honors program recognizes the best efforts of Virginians who — by profession or avocation — have made creating, preserving, and enhancing Virginia’s communities an important life commitment.


Nominations must be submitted online. Nominations should be submitted as a single PDF up to 20 pages (not including letters of support) and no larger than 15 MB.

Nominations for all AIA Virginia honors may be made by individual members, by chapter honors committees, by AIA Virginia committees, or by the Board of Directors itself.

Current AIA Virginia Board members and Honors Committee members are not eligible for any award. Members of the Honors Committee may not be used as a reference or adviser or be solicited by the candidate or the candidate’s advisor.

The deadline is Friday, June 14, 2024, at 5 p.m.


Eligibility criteria and submission requirements vary by award. Click on the awards listed below for additional details and to review past recipients.

Submit a nomination.

Award Categories

Professional Awards

The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. Only one medal may be bestowed each year.

The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award, as the highest honor bestowed by AIA Virginia to a Virginia-based architecture firm, recognizes a firm that has consistently demonstrated outstanding and continuous contributions to design, the profession, and to the community for at least ten years.

The Virginia Emerging Architect Award recognizes the accomplishments of an emerging leader in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in any of the following: design, research, education, service as a “citizen architect,” service to the profession, service to the community, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

The Virginia Associates Award recognizes the accomplishments of individual Associate AIA members for being outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.

The Award for Distinguished Achievement recognizes either a singular achievement by an architect or the work of an entire career in any of the following: design, practice, education, service as a “citizen architect,” service to the profession, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

The Test of Time Award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance. The structure should be in Virginia and must be no less than 25 years old. Building use may change over time if the overall design is cherished as a significant contribution to the community and the built environment.

Public Awards

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service is AIA Virginia’s most prestigious public award, honoring an individual or organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to the public’s understanding and awareness of the built environment. Only one medal may be bestowed each year but may be given simultaneously to more than one person.

Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the AIA Virginia but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of AIA Virginia.

AIA Virginia Honors may be bestowed on non-member individuals or organizations that have inspired, influenced, or complemented the architecture profession in Virginia through practice of an allied profession, research, education, planning, legislation, architectural writing, the arts, or crafts. An individual who has previously been elected an Honorary Member of AIA Virginia is ineligible to receive AIA Virginia Honors.

2024 AIA Virginia Prize Winners Announced

During the first weekend of February, students across the Commonwealth participated in the 2024 Virginia Prize. For the first time JMU’s Architectural Design program joined competitors from perennial participants Hampton University, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech (Blacksburg and the WAAC) in addressing a challenge authored by Professor Stanford Britt, FAIA, Professor Carmina Sanchez-de-Valle, RA, and Associate Professor Marci Turner of Hampton University. The brief invited students to design a “bookless” public library as a community public room on a corner site at the intersection of N. Mallory Street and E. County Street in Phoebus, Virginia.

The submissions were juried by Trey Trahan, FAIA, NOMA, Robbie Eleazer, AIA, and David Sweere, AIA of Trahan Architects: a global architecture firm with offices in New Orleans and New York founded on the belief that the mindful design of everyday spaces can elevate the human experience. The practice is dedicated to creating spaces resonant with authenticity, cultural significance, and ecological resilience. The result is a harmonious portfolio that blends the arts, conservation, historic preservation, and social responsibility.

The juried noted that “The work was impressive for a single weekend charrette. There’s an attentiveness to the library’s functional role in the digital and post-digital age. The work as a whole offered an enormous range of solutions in form, materiality, and articulation.”

First Place was awarded to Graham Gewirz (University of Virginia).

“The scheme demonstrates a clarity in the development of the original diagram to the finalized solution. There is a consistency in the attitude and articulation of the natural thickness of masonry throughout the scheme, operating at multiple scales. Intelligent carving of the masonry creates places for gathering and engagement with the building from the exterior and intimate spaces for contemplation and studying in the interior.”

Second Place was conferred upon Philip Edmonston (University of Virginia).

“The scheme is strongly engaging of the site’s context, operating at a transition of scale in the urban fabric, by breaking down the scale of the overall structure into a series of volumes, aggregated into a composition that pulls a visitor into the site. The library expansion is complementary of the existing library in orientation, access, and form.”

Third Place was given to Kanako Kohara (Virginia Tech: WAAC).

“The scheme combines a muted natural material palette and access to nature with a beautiful simply articulated elevation. The use of exposed timber construction offers an example of forward-sustainable thinking.”

Mohammed Elabbasi (Virginia Tech: Blacksburg) merited an Honorable Mention.

“The scheme is inventive and playful in its articulation of a series of treehouse-like structures connected by a catwalk. It offers a youthful expression of lifted volumes to protect from flooding while creating a forest floor-like condition at the ground level.”

Many thanks to the jury for their diligent deliberations.

And Congratulations – not only to those who were recognized – but to all who submitted and, through their work, helped us to encounter new approaches and envision innovative possibilities.

View a gallery of the submissions below.

Amt, Ford, Price, and Wardell Elevated to Fellowship

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is elevating four AIA members from AIA Virginia to its prestigious College of Fellows, AIA’s highest membership honor for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. The 2024 Jury of Fellows is elevating 96 members this year to the College of Fellows.

The fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

As many of you know, the College of Fellows is AIA’s highest membership honor, with only 3% of members achieving this distinction. The bar is justifiably high, and the jury deliberates for days on the hundreds of applicants. If you’re new to AIA or interested in understanding the process better, you can learn more about the nomination and criteria, which includes fellowship objects, here.

The newly elevated fellows from AIA Virginia are:

  • Michelle Amt, FAIA of VMDO Architects (Central Virginia)
  • Edward Ford, FAIA of Edward R. Ford Architect-Author (Central Virginia)
  • Mel Price, FAIA of Work Program Architects (Hampton Roads)
  • Bruce Wardell, FAIA of brwarchitects, p.c. (Central Virginia)

New fellows will be honored at the AIA Virginia Fellows Fête, March 16, 2024 at Barboursville Vineyards.

New fellows will be honored at the AIA Awards Gala, June 7, 2024, at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Learn more about fellowship on AIA’s website.

ArchEx 2024: Call for Presentations

Architecture Exchange East is the annual thought-leadership conference and expo curated by AIA Virginia. It will be held Nov. 6-8, 2024, in Richmond, Virginia! Our goal is to bring together the brightest minds and most engaging speakers to present talks that are future-focused on a wide range of subjects, to provoke important conversations among design professionals, and to promote networking, relationship building, and collaboration.

Celebrating its 37th year, ArchEx has always strived to help push the profession forward. We are looking for exciting and engaging topics and speakers to make this year unforgettable.

We 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. 

To propose an offering, complete and submit the Presentation Proposal Form by April 30, 2024. Your proposal will be reviewed, and you will be contacted no later than July 2024. Incomplete forms will not be accepted.


  • Submit a completed proposal form online
  • Proposals must be received by the deadline date.
  • Expert speakers with public speaking experience are preferred
  • Presentation content must be sufficient for the proposed length of the session

Deadline is 5:00 p.m., April 30, 2024

Decision Process

All proposals are evaluated by AIA Virginia’s Education Advisory Council to ensure they address the educational needs of the audience and that the program is well-balanced. The submission review process will begin in June and will continue until the entire program is set.

If you would like to be a part of the Education Advisory Council and help shape the ArchEx program, please contact Delaney Ogden at

Suggestions and Questions

Suggestions for potential speakers or questions about the conference can be directed to Delaney Ogden, Director of Education at

Suggested Topics

  • Tours — Projects of interest, in progress or recently completed, restoration, redevelopment, urban planning, art installations, artist studios, creatives, historical architecture, etc.
  • Tours/experiences of cultural, historical, and artistic interest
  • Workshops/experiences that involve community design/engagement
  • Business planning
  • Excellence in Design
  • New Uses of Technology
  • Codes
  • Accessibility
  • Leadership
  • Office management
  • Residential design
  • Healthcare and wellness
  • Sustainable Design