Regulations and FAQs

This program is not a competition, but a recognition of built and un-built projects deemed worthy of acknowledgment by independent juries. There is no specific number of awards to be granted. Jury recognition will be given by AIA Virginia in the form of a certificate. Winners shall provide high-resolution images of their projects within two weeks of notification.

Each entry shall be submitted as described below.  Entries submitted in an unspecified manner will be disregarded.

The submitting designer shall clear all photographs and drawings for unrestricted release and reproduction in connection with publicity of the program including, but not limited to, print media, web media, and exhibition.

The submitting designer may qualify as a member of the design team, whether or not serving as the head of that team. Where one individual is not the sole author, all other persons substantially contributing to the design of the project must be given credit as part of the submission, regardless of professional discipline.

Project authorship will remain concealed throughout the jury’s deliberation.

Winners shall provide high-resolution images (300 dpi) of their projects within two weeks of notification to program organizers.


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 that you must be a member of AIA Virginia to receive a member discount. If you are not a member of AIAVA you cannot receive a discounted member rate regardless of your national AIA member status.
Become an unassigned member of AIA Virginia using this form: 2023 AIA Virginia Unassigned Member application2qtr

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

All entries must be the work of licensed architects who have an office in Virginia OR are members of AIA Virginia. 

The location of projects is not restricted, but any built work submitted must have been completed on or after January 1, 2015.

What to do:

  1. Assemble the Concealed Identification PDF and the Project PDF.
  2. Complete entries, upload submissions and pay online.

To enter, go to Design Awards Entries

PDF#1    Concealed Identification PDF to be titled concealedid.pdf

This PDF must include:
* Project name and address
* Project award category
* Designer’s name, address, email address and phone number
* Owner’s name, address, email address and phone number
* Contractor’s name, address, email address and phone number
* Photographer’s name, address, email address and phone number
Submitters are also encouraged to include the names and contact information for any consultants or suppliers that contributed substantially to the project.

The jury will not see this information.

PDF#2    Project PDF to be titled project.pdf (MAY NOT EXCEED 15MB)

The Project PDF may be up to 7 pages. This document may not exceed 15MB and pages 2-7 may not exceed 8.5×11″ in page size.
* Page 1: The first page of every project PDF must be the completed Framework for Design Excellence Project Information Form. Entries that do not include the Project Information Form as page 1 will not be considered.
* Page 2: Brief project description (voided of design firm’s name or logo) and submission category.
* Pages 3-7: Photographs, renderings, and/or plans/sections that provide a clear understanding of the project. Also encouraged are concept sketches that communicate the development of the project and or its method of construction. Submitters may include narrative elements.

What is 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.

It is understood that every project is different and may not respond to every measure within the Framework for Design Excellence. The jury will consider each design holistically and within context.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Q:           I’m not a member of the AIAVA, but someone on my project team is. Can I submit at the lower “member” rate?

A:            Yes. But, please indicate the name of the AIAVA Member on the design team.

Q:           I’m not a member of the AIAVA, but someone who works in my firm is. Can I submit at the lower “member” rate?

A:            Only if they were a member of the design team. Please indicate the AIAVA member’s name on your concealed ID.

Q:           My firm has offices both in and outside Virginia. I’d like to submit a project being designed by one of my out-of-state offices. Is it eligible?

A:            It depends. If an AIAVA member is a member of the project team, then it is eligible to submit. (Please indicate the AIAVA member’s name on your concealed ID.) If no AIAVA members served on the project team, it is not eligible — even if your firm has an office and/or members in Virginia.

Q:           Is unbuilt work eligible?

A:           Unbuilt work will also be in the Unbuilt Architecture category.

Q:           Can I submit an unbuilt project now and submit it again if it gets built (even if it already won)?

A:            Yes. The option to submit unbuilt works provides the opportunity to celebrate exceptional projects that, for one reason or another, may never get built. Since built works can vary from designed work, we allow submissions in both phases.

Q:           Is a check or credit card preferable?

A:            We do not accept checks. We accept VISA, MasterCard, and American Express.

Q:           I will be submitting multiple projects—do I register all of them separately?

A:            No, you can record up to 9 projects in one registration session. Beyond 9, please simply submit an additional online form or give us a call.

Q:           Can I include the name of our project on the introductory page of our Project PDF?

A:            Yes, just as long as it doesn’t identify the submitting firm in any way.

Q:           I see that you have a 15MB and 7-page limit on the Project PDF—isn’t that rather small?

A:            Yes, but that size ensures that your submission file will be easy to manage and open for jury members.

 Q:           What if my Project PDF exceeds seven pages?

A:            Anything beyond seven pages will be excluded from the jury’s deliberations.

 Q:           Is there a limit to the number of images that we include?

A:            No, as long as the entire file does not exceed 15MB.

 Q:           Can we include text on our Project PDF?

A:            Yes, as much as you’d like.

Q:           Does my Project PDF have to be 8.5×11 inches, or can it be 11×17 inches?

A:            8.5×11 inches only, please. The exception is the Framework for Design Excellence Project Information Form. This document is larger to accommodate space to address all 10 measures of the Framework.

Q:           Can I sneak in a few extra images on the Concealed Identification PDF?

A:            No, please leave that page unadorned. The jury will never see it in the first place; it is a “blind jury.”

Q:           Our submission will be a few days late—can we have an extension?

A:            No, the submission deadline is firm.

 Q:           Will I receive a confirmation email once I submit my firm’s projects?

A:            Yes, a confirmation email will be generated once the submission has been processed.

Q:           When will the jury review the submissions? When will the winners be announced?

A:            The jury will be held in July or August, and winners will be publicly announced in October.