Design Awards


  • How to Submit an Award-Winning Design Awards Submission (Webinar) - June 16, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST.

    View the Webinar

If you would like to see past examples of winning submissions please click here.

  • COTE Presents: Framework for Design Excellence - June 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST and June 24, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST.

    View the Webinar

  • Virtual Open Office Hours | COTE Sustainability Awards Assessment - August 12, 2021 at 4:00 PM EST and August 18, 2021 at 12:00 PM EST. Registration coming soon.
  • Submissions due for Design Awards/Board Submissions - Friday, August 27, 2021, at 11:59 PM EST.
  • Design Awards Jury - September 20, 2021 (virtual)
  • Exhibition - October 6-17, 2021 at Cherry Street Pier during the DesignPhiladelphia Festival and December 2, 2021 at the Design Awards Celebration.
    Click here to submit to the exhibition.
  • Design Awards Celebration - Thursday, December 2, 2021 at the Center for Architecture and Design


Your firm is eligible to participate in AIA Philadelphia's Design Awards if your firm and your project submission can meet the following criteria.

  1. Your firm is a Philadelphia Chapter Firm Member in good standing.
  2. The project being submitted was designed by staff in the Philadelphia Member Firm office.
  3. The submission has been authorized by a principal or partner of the firm.
  4. Your firm has substantial design authorship of the project submitted.
  5. Have held the primary design responsibility, functioning as lead designer in cases of joint-venture teams.
  6. Built projects must have been completed within the last five years, or after January 1, 2016. Unbuilt projects must have been commissioned to be built within the last five years, or after January 1, 2016.


Step 1: Create Profile
Create a new username and password. If you are submitting more than one entry, you will be prompted for a payment at the end of each submission. Your contact information will pre-populate in each new entry you begin. Click Save Address and Continue to begin your first entry.

Step 2: Submit Your Entry

  • Check the boxes indicating you agree to and meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Describe your firm's role in the project.
  • Enter the names of your collaborating firms and their roles, if applicable.
  • Enter your Firm Name, Contact Name, Job Title, Email Address, and Phone Number.
  • Select your project subcategory.
  • Check the box indicating that your project has been completed after January 1, 2016.
  • Enter your Project Title.
  • Enter your Project Description. If selected for an award, this description will be read aloud at the Design Awards Celebration.
  • Select YES or NO from the dropdown menu indicating whether or not you would like your project to be included in the exhibition. Please note: This year we are returning to the 40x40 board template. Firms are responsible for logistics, printing, and shipping of boards. Please visit the Design Awards program page on the AIA Philadelphia website for more information.

Step 3: Uploads

  • Project Submission - PDF File Only (File Size Limit 10MB). This is the file that will be reviewed by the jury. Please submit one PDF File Only. The submission file is limited to 16 pages total. Your project submission should be: 1 cover page + 12 page project submission + 3 page sustainability form, for a total of 16 pages in ONE PDF. All project categories will be automatically considered for the Sustainability Recognition Award.
  • Project Team Information Page - PDF Files Only
  • Design Awards Presentation Slide - JPG Files Only. The Design Awards presentation slide will be used during the awards ceremony, the night of Thursday, December 2, 2021. We are collecting slides from everyone, regardless of whether your project is selected for an award. Please save the PPT file as a JPG.
  • Photo upload - JPG Files Only. Please upload 10 hi-res images of your project.
  • Name of Photographer

Step 4: Design Awards Entry Authorization

By entering your name, you agree to comply with the Design Awards submission criteria.



Submission Cover Sheet (for all categories)
Project Team Information Page
Framework for Design Excellence/Sustainability Form
Design Awards Presentation Slide Template 


  1. Submitting firms will: handle all logistics, printing, and courier services of all exhibit boards. Exhibit boards must be delivered to the Center for Architecture and Design (1218 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107) by 5 p.m. on Monday, September 27. Boards arriving after this date are not guaranteed a place in the exhibition.
  2. Board Specs: Boards are limited to 40" x 40" panels only, and must have 4 grommet holes.
  3. Installation & Dismantling: Installation and dismantling will be handled by AIA Philadelphia staff and volunteers. No modifications to the exhibit will be permitted during the course of the show, regardless of the reason. You must ensure that pertinent permission for exhibition and/or publication from clients is obtained prior to entry of your materials.
  4. Display: Location of panels within the exhibition system is strictly by random order. We will make every effort to place firm’s boards together. 

Please note: If you are submitting the same project for the Design Awards Compeition, there is no fee to enter a board into the exhibition. 




Two years ago, the Board of Directors of AIA Philadelphia, in conjunction with the Design Committee, expanded the main categories for the Design Awards Competition offering firms more opportunities to be recognized for their work. The expanded categories are as follows: Small Projects, Interior Architecture, Historic Preservation/Adaptive Reuse, and Planning.

For the Sustainability Award, all project categories will be required to submit the Sustainability Information Form and will automatically be considered for an award in this category.




Projects submitted in this category must be $500,000 or less.


Projects submitted in this category must be focused on interior design.


Projects submitted in this category must be focused on preservation or adaptive reuse of a historic building.


Projects submitted in this category can be any built project completed since January 1, 2014.


Projects submitted in this category must be focused on an exceptional built detail. Detail may be submitted without the full project.



Projects submitted in this category must be focused on planning.


Projects submitted in this category must be commissioned by a client with the intent to be occupied. 


Example Submissions

You will need to select a category you wish the project to be considered in and submit to each category separately (except for Sustainability, see below for some examples)

EXAMPLE 1.  You have a project that you would like to be considered for General Built and Interior Architecture.

  • Submit your project under the General Built Category and pay $195 to submit.
  • Submit your project again under the Interior Architecture Category and pay $195 to submit. 

EXAMPLE 2.  You have a project that you would like to be considered for General Built, Small Projects, and Interior Architecture.

  • Submit your project under the General Built Category and pay $195 to submit.
  • Submit your project again under the Small Projects Category and pay $195 to submit.  
  • Submit your project again under the Interior Architecture Category and pay $195 to submit.

All project categories have the opportunity to be considered for the Sustainability Award.  

It is within the jury’s decision to pull a project from ANY of the categories for the Gold Medal, so you do not have to select General Built in order to be considered for the Gold Medal.

Design Awards Submission FAQs

  • I am not currently a Member Firm with the AIA Philadelphia Chapter. Do I need to be a Member Firm in order to enter the Design Awards competition?  Yes, you need to be a current Member Firm in order to submit for the Design Awards Competition, and your firm must have a Philadelphia office. For more information on how to join, please contact Julianne Foley, Member Services & Events Manager at [email protected].
  • I will be submitting three projects for the Design Awards. Should I complete three submission forms?  Yes, you will need to complete three separate entry applications. You will be prompted for payment at the end of each submission. 
  • Do I have to start and finish my submission in one session?  Yes. You must complete your entire PDF submission(s) by the deadline date at 11:59 pm EST.  There is no option to stop and save your submission once you begin.
  • Can I submit a few days late?  No. In the interest of fairness to all participants, no late entries will be accepted.

2021 Design Awards Jury
Detroit, MI

  • Elizabeth Knibbe, FAIA
    Principal, Quinn Evans – Ann Arbor
  • Chris Heine, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Sustainability Leader, SmithGroup
  • Thomas Affeldt, AIA
    Senior Designer, M1/DTW


Sponsorships are now available for the 2021 Design Awards Celebration! If you have any questions, please contact Jermaine Jenkins at [email protected] or call 215-569-3186, ext. 106


Please email Julianne Foley at [email protected]