The AIA Virginia Prize is a design charrette that engages students at all of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia.  Conducted simultaneously at each institution, students are given the competition program Friday at 5 p.m. They work over the weekend to create a board presenting their design solution by 9 a.m. the following Monday.  The competition is intended to promote collaboration between the profession, students and professors in Virginia.

The first round of submissions will be juried at the university level and up to 10 entries from each school will be sent to be juried at the state level.

2021 AIA Virginia Prize


The 2021 prompt is inspired by the Equal Justice Initiative’s Community Remembrance Project:

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is a private, nonprofit organization that challenges poverty and racial injustice, advocates for equal treatment in the criminal justice system, and creates hope for marginalized communities. EJI opened The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration and National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama in 2019.

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice includes over 800 steel monuments, or pillars, one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place, with the names of the lynching victims engraved on the pillars. A field of identical monuments is in a park adjacent to the memorial. EJI’s Community Remembrance Project invites counties across the country to claim their monuments and install them in the counties they represent. In addition to installing the pillars, EJI encourages participating communities to place a historical marker and to collect soil from the site of the lynchings, to “allow communities to gain perspective and experience that we believe is crucial to managing the monument retrieval process wisely and effectively.”

Competition Challenge

Design a pillar installation for the City of Alexandria’s Market Square. Background, site plans and photos are provided.

Download the Competition Brief and Challenge

Submission Requirements:
One 24” x 36” board, landscape or portrait orientation. Digital files should be no larger than 15 MB. Prize entries should be submitted using the manner determined by each university.

Entries should represent the work of an individual (rather than a team). Entrants must be students enrolled in one of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia.

To learn about last year’s competition, check out the 2020 Prize announcement.