Design Awards

AIA Philadelphia Member Firms are invited to participate in the annual Design Awards celebration. The Design Awards recognize the best in architectural design and includes a design competition, divine detail award, exhibition, and awards gala. Members can participate in the competition and exhibit, the competition only or the exhibit only. Competition winners are announced each year at the Awards gala in mid-October.

Click here to view the 2016 event photo gallery

Advertise in the DesignAwards Supplement

To celebrate the 2016 Design Awards and to promote AIA Philadelphia to the local business community, AIA Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Business Journal are collaborating to produce an insert for the October 21, 2016 issue. The supplement will be distributed to each of the event attendees. All told, your advertising package will put your marketing message in front of over 45,000 area business leaders! Click here for rates and deadlines. For more information on reserving an ad, contact Katherine Siravo at

View the 2016 Philadelphia Business Journal Supplement

2016 Design Awards Events

Design Awards Celebration: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Celebrate architecture, architects, leaders, rising stars and advocates at our Design Awards celebration and cocktail style dinner & dessert reception. Click here to purchase your tickets.

Architecture Exhibit: February 6-18, 2017 at the Shops at Liberty Place Rotunda, Philadelphia, PA. Boards are due by Friday, January 13, 2017. Please see below regarding information about board specifications. Still interested in submitting a board for the exhibit? Click here!

Sponsorship are still available for the 2016 Design Awards! Click here to download the sponsorship packet. Contact Julianne Foley, Member Services and Events Manager, at or call 215-569-3186, ext. 101 for more information. 

2016 Forms:


  • Submitters must:
    • Be a Philadelphia AIA member firm
    • Have substantial design authorship (but in case of multi-firm projects, not necessarily exclusive)
  • Projects must:
    • Consist of space intended to be occupied
    • Be completed after January 1, 2011 (substantial completion for built projects; design for un-built)
    • Be commissioned by a client (either with intention to build or as a stand-alone planning study/design standard)
    • Be substantially designed in Philadelphia office (in cases of multi-office firms)


  • Entries from prior years may be re-submitted if:
    • They meet current completion date criteria
    • They did not already receive an award in same category (i.e. built project award-winner may not be re-submitted but an award-winning un-built project may be re-submitted as built or an element of an award-winning project may be re-submitted for Divine Detail)

Board Specifications

  1. Entry is limited to 40" x 40" panels only. Panels must have 4 mounting grommets properly placed on 38" centers. #3 grommets are recommended (7/16" diameter hole, 15/16" diameter flange). If the grommet locations are incorrect, the submitting firm will be notified. Please check all boards for proper measurments before delivery. Boards may be up to 1/2" thick. Masonite, sintra board, and "gatorform" are all acceptable. PLASTIC LAMINATE ON PARTICLE BOARD, PAINTED PARTICLE BOARD, METAL OR OTHER MATERIALS OR ASSEMBLAGES EXCEEDING 10 LBS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE AND WILL NOT BE EXHIBITED. Regular foam core is not recommended. Please insure that the edges of every board are presentable. Remember the exhibit is open to the public. Your company name and contact information should be clearly visible on the front of each board. 
  2. Labeling: AIA board labels must be completed and placed on the back (at top center) of each project board. These labels are used to aid in placing boards from the same firm together in the display and to ensure that boards are returned to proper locations. Please be sure to label your board clearly. 
  3. Wrapping of Boards: If boards are boxed or wrapped, the firm name should be clearly visible on the outside of the packaging. In addition, the package should indicate the board number and total number of boards submitted (1 of 3 boards). The Chapter will make every effort to return boards in their original boxes; however, plastic and paper wrapping will not be stored during exhibit and boards submitted wrapped in such a manner will be returned unwrapped. Some boxes require dismantling, and cannot be salvaged.
  4. Installation & Dismantling: Installation will take place Sunday, February 5, 5:00 pm to (approximately) 9:00 pm. Dismantling will take place Sunday, February 19, 5:00 to (approximately) 9:00. No modifications to the exhibit will be permitted during the course of the show, regardless of the reason. You must insure that pertinent permission for exhibition and/or publication from clients is obtained prior to entry of your materials. Firm staff members participating in the tear down can take the board(s) with them when dismantling is complete. WE REQUEST FIRMS SUBMITTING MUTIPLE BOARDS TO PROVIDE AT LEAST ONE VOLUNTEER TO ASSIST WITH EXHIBIT INSTALLATION AND TEAR DOWN.
  5. Display: Location of panels within the exhibition system is strictly by random order. We will make every effort to place firm’s boards together.
  6. Pick-Up: Exhibitors must retrieve exhibit boards from their drop off location between 9:00am to 5:00pm, February 20 to March 10, 2017. These offices do not have storage space so please reclaim your board(s) promptly or they will be disposed of. Should a courier service be retained to reclaim your boards, we recommend that you advise the service as to the nature of the pick-up. Exhibitors that participate in the dismantling of the exhibit can retrieve their boards at that time if the choose. AIA PHILADELPHIA AND THE CENTER FOR ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BOARDS THAT ARE NOT CLAIMED BY 5 PM, MARCH 10, 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

►  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 competition?  Yes, you need to be a current Member Firm in order to submit for the Design Awards Competition and Divine Detail Competition. For more information on how to join, please contact Julianne Foley, Member Services & Events Manager at

►  I will be submitting three projects. Should I complete three registration forms?  Yes, you will need to complete three separate entry applications.

►  Can I include the project name in the project PDF?  Yes, you can—just make sure you don’t identify the submitting firm or designer.  Submissions are to remain anonymous.

►  What happens if I exceed the 10MB file limit?  You will be asked once to reduce the size of the file and resubmit your project.

►  How will I know my submission has been received?  Upon submitting your entry, you will receive a confirmation e-mail message containing your submission details.

►  What should I do if I did not receive a confirmation e-mail containing my submission details?  First, check your junk mail folder - the most likely problem is that your spam filter sent the e-mail there.  If you don't find it in your junk mail folder, please email Julianne Foley, Member Services & Events Manager, at

►  Do I have to start and finish my submission in one session?  Yes. You must complete your entire submission(s) by the deadline date at 11:59pm EST.

►  Can we submit a few days late?  No. In the interest of fairness to all participants, no late entries will be accepted.

►  How will our PDF be viewed?  Jurors will view projects on a large screen. As long as your images are web-ready (300 dpi), there will be no loss of fidelity.

 2016 Design Awards Jury

Location: New Orleans

Jury Members:

  • Mac Ball, FAIA, Waggonner & Ball Architects 
  • Trula Remson, AIA, Remson Haley Herpin Architects
  • Steve Dumez, FAIA, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
  • Paula Peer, AIA, Trapolin-Peer Architects
  • Lee Ledbetter, AIA, Lee Ledbetter & Associates
  • Trey Trahan, FAIA, Trahan Architects

Special Recognition Awards

Each year AIA Philadelphia presents four special awards


Thank you to our 2016 Platinum Sponsor