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2020 Design Awards Nominations
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The AIA Charlotte Design Awards Committee is pleased to announce that the Design Awards Program will take place again this year with an expanded list of Entry Categories and an updated submittal and evaluation process. Please click here for more information and submit your entry here.
Architectural Design 
Projects submitted in this category shall primarily include a broad range of design(s) for commercial, institutional, governmental and industrial projects that do not fit within the other Entry Categories.

Sustainable Design
All projects selected in this category will demonstrate meaningful, sustainable and integrated design that enhances human health, energy efficiency, and stewardship of our planetary resources. The award recognizes excellence in ecological stewardship, including reduced environmental impact and reduced energy consumption, as well as attention to quality of life issues, resiliency, and community engagement within the urban environment. The AIA 2030 commitment requires that all new buildings, developments, and major renovations shall be carbonneutral by 2030 to achieve the 2030 challenge (see: Entrants are encouraged to submit performance data for submitted projects that address aspects of the 2030 challenge, although full compliance is not required to be considered for award consideration.

Adaptive Reuse
Projects submitted in this category may be of any project type (Commercial, Educational, Residential, etc.) but should include either a renovation within an existing building or a new construction that expands an existing structure or site. Projects that have been recognized for historical value through inclusion in Historic Districts or listing on Historic Registers should identify the type and reason for recognition in the written project description. Projects that do not have official recognition or designation are also eligible and should outline the historical significance in the project description. The intent of this award is to recognize thoughtful interventions or restorations that create a synergy between old and new construction. Routine maintenance, such as painting or reroofing is not considered restoration work for the purposes of this award.

Interior Architecture
Eligible entries may be new construction, renovation or preservation/restoration projects. Interior architecture projects of distinction will evince mastery of composition, functionality, material and color palettes, and well-integrated adherence to the highest levels of accessibility, health and safety, environmental, and occupant-comfort considerations, standards, and regulations. Submissions will highlight accommodation of project goals, including the client’s specific programmatic requirements.

Single Family Residential
Aesthetic appeal and functionality are two longestablished criteria for home design. More frequently, especially in the last several years, families have also been looking for affordability and resource efficiency. The jury will focus on design that suits the needs of the homeowner or resident, regardless of any particular style, and is easily maintained, filled with adequate natural light and fresh air, energy and water efficient, and is universally accessible.

Urban Design 
Projects submitted in this category shall include largerscale developments ranging from urban block infill to mixed-use projects several acres in size. Emphasis shall be on the elements that create and/or reinforce the urban fabric and foster good placemaking. Projects that demonstrate how buildings support an overall master planning armature are preferred over those that feature planning and design at the city or regional scale. Category awardees will sensitively reinforce historic urban form, connect the internal and surrounding community, and exhibit sustainability at a community scale.
Small Project 
Projects submitted in this category shall include design(s) for work under $150,000 (US) or 3,000 square feet of designed or constructed area. Entrants may exclude extraneous, non-relevant site or floor area from the calculation.
Idea and Innovation
Projects submitted in this category shall emphasize new technologies, alternate design and delivery methodologies, emerging building typologies, advanced tectonics, developing trends and other topics related to design. Emphasis shall be on design work that is experimental, imaginative and explorational.

Landscape Architecture
This category recognizes site-specific works of landscape architecture. Entries in this category must have been built. Typical entries include: Single-site public, institutional, or private landscapes of all kinds (except entries qualifying for urban design or residential design categories); projects that include historic preservation, reclamation, or conservation; green roofs, stormwater management, sustainable design; design for transportation or infrastructure; landscape art or installation; and/or interior landscape design.

Divine Detail
Projects submitted in this category must be focused on an exceptional built detail. The detail may be submitted without the full project. The purpose of the Divine Detail Award is to recognize an instance in which the expression of architectural theory becomes an artistic medium, defining the relationship between architecture and craft. Projects should illustrate the governing design concept of the building in which the detail is found through the use of a particular material, detail or technology.

AIA Charlotte Submission Deadline: 
August 21, 2020 EOB

Virtual Awards Gala:
October 29. 2020


Student Design Awards

The AIA Charlotte Design Awards Program recognizes aspiring architects and student designers currently enrolled at the School of Architecture at UNC Charlotte, Central Piedmont Community College and Queens University.


Awards entries may be previously completed work either for course credit or independent investigations. Regardless, award entries must be formatted to comply with design award program guidelines outlined below. Award entries must be submitted with written acknowledgement of sponsorship by a design faculty member in the entrant’s academic program. Students who graduated in Spring 2020 are eligible to submit.

There are two awards categories:

1. Early Design (First, Second, or Third Year students of a degree program)
2. Advanced Design Level (Fourth Year, Fifth Year, and Graduate students).

Awards for the Early Design celebrate emerging talent and excellence in design with the promise of innovative thinking and creative exploration in architecture.

Advanced Design awards recognize exceptional, creative practices and applied research in building design, urban design, public interest design, sustainability, technologies, and innovative materials. Recipients of this award display a novel academic approach with the promise of developing new architectural paradigms.

Submission Content

Project submissions shall be in the form of a paginated Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF) file in 8.5” x 14 (16:10) landscape format. A maximum of twelve (12) pages are allowed per submission.

Submissions shall include the graphic (visual) and narrative content sufficient to convey the design parameters and design solution. Submissions typically include a combination of photographs (monochrome or color), drawings (plans, sections, elevations), diagrams, benchmarks and annotations. Please include a graphic scale and north arrow on the plans, as applicable, for reference. Every submission should clearly depict the project scope, its aspirational goals, its relationship to context, program and so on.

It is critical to help jurors understand the important qualities of the project as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Please note that jurors will view digital images only. Be aware of the number of images and information that can be comprehended from a single page viewed in quick succession.

Submissions should be as comprehensive as possible and relate to the salient aspects of the design. An image of each primary building facade should be evident in the submission. In the case of a group of buildings, a photograph showing the overall composition of structures should be included.

Entry Fee: $30 per entry

Prize: Cash prizes will be awarded for each category. Cash prize amount TBD, with a minimum amount of $500 for first place winners.

Print details here





2019 WINNERS (Download PDF




Think you would like to submit?
Read the descriptions below and submit during the Call for Submissions Is Open!  


Citizen Architect Service to the Community

This category recognizes the work of architects who serve as elected or appointed officials, public administrators or institutional leaders and establish and contribute to the development of laws, regulations, policies or initiatives that promote excellence in architecture.


The S. Scott Ferebee Service to the Section Award

The S. Scott Ferebee Service Award recognizes the work of architects who, by their skill, professionalism, dedication, ability and commitment, and/or volunteer contributions have consistently advanced the common goals of AIA Charlotte.


The Laurel Award

The Laurel Award is to recognize individuals, firms or organizations outside the profession who have made significant contributions to the improvement of the region’s built environment. Contributions may include, but are not limited to, advancement or development of laws, regulations, policies or initiatives that promote excellence in architecture; the commissioning of notable additions to the built environment; or activities that raise the public’s consciousness of the importance of excellent design in the shaping of our world and culture.


Emerging Professional of the Year Award

Established in 2013, to recognize an individual Associate AIA member or an AIA Architect member who has been registered 10 years or less who exemplifies the highest qualities of leadership and who has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to their AIA Component or region, to the design and construction industry, to the community, and/or to other professional organizations.


Firm of the Year Award

Established in 2013, the purpose of the Firm Award is to recognize notable achievements in design, community service, education, and service to the profession and the AIA by an architectural firm. Projects, accomplishments, and service submitted must reflect a period of at least 10 years.


Questions? Contact AIA Charlotte at 704-369-2302.


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