Design Awards

In existence for half a century, AIA San Francisco’s Design Awards program recognizes the outstanding achievements in architecture and design of Bay Area individuals and organizations, and celebrates the distinguished work of architects and related professionals from afar who contribute to the framework of our local built environment. The program serves to inform the public of the breadth and value of architectural practice.

Previous AIASF Design Awards Recipients

2023 AIASF Design Awards

ELIGIBILITY + SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS | JURY | QUESTIONS

The call for submissions to AIA San Francisco's 2023 Design Awards program is now open!

Submit a Project

ENTRY FEES + DEADLINES
Entry fees are non-refundable. Submissions must be fully completed and entered on or before the Early Submission Deadline in order to qualify for the discounted submission fees rates.

Early Submission Deadline: January 27, 2023 at 5:00 pm (PST)
AIASF Member Submission: $230
General Submission: $420
Full-Time Architectural and Design Students (with ID): $10

Extended Deadline: February 17, 2023 at 5:00 pm (PST)
AIASF Member Submission: $285
General Submission: $475
Full-Time Architectural and Design Students (with ID): $40

Financial Hardship Fee Waiver Request Form

Submit a Project

Submissions

The Design Awards submission is structured into main categories and optional concentrations. In addition to the design awards given in each main category – ArchitectureInterior Architecture, and Unbuilt Design – the jury may also choose to recognize projects that exhibit special achievements in four concentrations, giving special acknowledgement to projects that further encompass the values of good design within the context of historic preservation, social responsibility, technology excellence, and urban design.

With this format we hope to demonstrate that all of these disciplines explored collectively, rather than independently, strengthen the overall power and scope of architecture to help shape the built environment and enrich the human spirit.

In recognition of the importance of sustainable design, AIASF instituted a separate award category for energy and sustainability in 2003. In the last several years, the profession as a whole has transformed the way it designs, builds, and maintains buildings. The Design Awards program now incorporates the fulfillment of sustainable design principles into all categories.

Award Briefs

Architecture Award

The Architecture Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievements in architecture. At the jury’s discretion, this category will honor multiple projects, featuring Citation, Merit, and Honor Award recognitions. Submissions will be judged on quality of design; resolution of the program or idea; and innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique. No field trips will be taken; jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted. It is therefore important that submissions convey to the jury a full understanding of the project. Each entry in the AIA San Francisco Design Awards program is judged on the success with which it has met its individual requirements. Entries are weighed individually, not in competition with others.

Interior Architecture Award

The Interior Architecture Award recognizes excellence in interior architecture. At the jury’s discretion, this category will honor multiple projects, featuring Citation, Merit, and Honor Award recognitions. Submissions will be judged on quality of design; resolution of the program or idea; and innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique. No field trips will be taken; jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted. It is therefore important that submissions convey to the jury a full understanding of the project. Each entry in the AIA San Francisco Design Awards program is judged on the success with which it has met its individual requirements. Entries are weighed individually, not in competition with others.

Unbuilt Design Award

The Unbuilt Design Award recognizes purely theoretical architectural design work. At the jury’s discretion, this category will honor multiple projects, featuring Citation, Merit, and Honor Award recognitions. Submissions will be judged on quality of design, resolution of the program or idea, and innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique. Jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted. It is therefore important that submissions convey to the jury a full understanding of the project. Each entry in the AIA San Francisco Design Awards program is judged on the success with which it has met its individual requirements. Entries are weighed individually, not in competition with others.

Eligibility

- Awards open to AIA San Francisco members as well as nonmembers.
- Any person or firm is eligible to submit projects located within the boundaries of AIA San Francisco (San Francisco and Marin Counties, or within a 30-mile radius of San Francisco).
- Any person or firm practicing within the AIA San Francisco boundaries (San Francisco or Marin Counties, or within a 30-mile radius of San Francisco) is eligible to submit projects located outside the area; if a firm has multiple offices, only projects designed and executed by an office within the AIASF boundaries are eligible.
- A project that has previously won an award in other awards programs is eligible, unless the project was previously honored with any AIA San Francisco Design Award.
- Any number of projects can be entered regardless of project size, budget, style, or building type, and submissions may include remodeling or extended use projects.
- Work by the firm of a design professional serving as a juror is ineligible.
- For built projects, construction must have been completed within three years of the final submission deadline.
- For the Unbuilt Design projects, the design must be within three years of the final submission deadline.

Submission Packet

Do not include information identifying your firm in any materials outside of those designed to collect it, like the Design Team Form and fields on the submission site defined for this purpose. File names should not include your firm name. If any of the information provided to the jury for review – including file names – explicitly identifies the firm, your submission will be disqualified.

  • Project Name
  • Floor Area in Square Feet
  • Building Type
  • Date of Completion
  • Project Cost
  • Location of Project
  • 50-word Summary: This should be approximately two sentences on the project. Copy should be clear, concise, and well written, as it may be reproduced in print publications.
  • 250-word Summary: This should fully outline the program and design objectives and how the project addressed these objectives.
  • Building Performance Data: AIASF has adopted AIA CA’s “Common App” as part of the submission requirements to help identify how each project responds to the urgency of climate action given the broad impacts the built environment places on both people and planet. Please be sure to use the current version of the Common App available here. For further requirements and guidance on completing the Common App as part of your submission, visit the AIASF website here. Please note that some of the technical information requested on the Common App may require consultation with your engineer, and take this into account when preparing your submission.
  • Demolition Plan: For Historic Preservation Concentration Only.
  • Site Plan: Show context and include North arrow. JPEG format.
  • Floor Plans: JPEG format.
  • Annotated diagram or section: Optional; describe the overall design concept and/or sustainable
    features. JPEG format.
  • Additional Sections/Elevations: Optional; maximum two. JPEG format.
  • Additional Diagrams: Optional; maximum two. JPEG format.
  • Images: Up to 10 images of the completed project. Artwork should be saved to at least 300 dpi. You may submit up to two composite images (image files featuring multiple images). JPEG format. Do not include labels on the images. Credit photography in the Design Team section; these images will be reproduced in conjunction with recognition if the project is selected to receive an award.
  • Design Team: Should the project be selected for an award, project contributors will be publicly announced per the Design Team information provided with the submission. This information will otherwise remain exclusively for AIASF internal use. When not included in the Design Team form, AIASF is not responsible for missing project team member credits on awarded projects; make sure to include a comprehensive list of the subs on your projects, and feel free to add categories as needed. VIEW SAMPLE TEMPLATE

Design Awards Concentrations

The AIA San Francisco Design Awards program is structured into categories and concentrations. By highlighting concentrations, we aim to give special acknowledgement to projects that further encompass the values of good design within the context of historic preservationsocial responsibilitytechnology excellence, and urban design.

With this format we hope to demonstrate that all of these disciplines explored collectively, rather than independently, strengthen the overall power and scope of architecture to help shape the built environment and enrich the human spirit.

In recognition of the importance of sustainable design, AIASF instituted a separate award category for energy and sustainability in 2003. In the last several years, the profession as a whole has transformed the way it designs, builds, and maintains buildings. The Design Awards program now incorporates the fulfillment of sustainable design principles into all categories.

Historic Preservation Concentration

Include a demolition plan + the following information in your 250-word summary:

  • Description of preservation, rehabilitation, or restoration treatments employed; research undertaken; or difficult problems overcome.
  • If the property was threatened, identification of the type and degree of the threat to the property. Note any special efforts or plans to ensure future protection of the property.
  • Description of innovative approach to design, materials, technique or interpretation.
  • Description of principles of sustainability that were incorporated in the project.
  • Demonstration that the completed project enhances or extends the life of the resource.
Social Responsibility Concentration

Include information explaining how your project integrates effective social outcomes with the highest level of design excellence by responding to a need and/or addressing one or more of the following in your 250-word summary:

  • Community Engagement – an entire community and/or representative stakeholders are substantially involved and engaged in the decision-making processes, and community involvement has influenced project outcomes.
  • Community Benefit – project addresses a need(s) and demonstrates benefit(s) to the community.
  • Economic Disparity – architecture or the design process has reduced disparities in the economics of the larger community or individuals served by the project.
  • Health Outcomes – project improves health, safety, or well-being outcomes for the larger community or individuals served by the project.
  • Educational Inequity – project addresses inequities in our education system and those that increase the social responsibility of education.
  • Human Rights – project helps vulnerable populations and disadvantaged people realize their basic rights, to those that actively violate the rights of life and liberty.
  • Other innovative approaches outside of what is listed here, for example:
    • Increasing community resiliency
    • Celebrating place, culture or history
    • Minimizing displacement
    • Increasing racial equity

Technology Excellence Concentration

Include information explaining how your project addresses one or more of the following in your 250-word summary:

  • Excellence in project-related work thanks to the technical aspects of building design, including conceptualization, design, and implementation of buildings; or the technology aspects of building design from an engineering and construction standpoint.
  • Technology that greatly improved collaboration, innovation, and creativity, and led to architectural excellence in the project design or outcome.
  • Technology that resulted in improved economic, environmental, or social outcomes of the project.
Urban Design Concentration

In your 250-word Summary, address how the design:

  • responds to the existing urban and/or regional context;
  • contributes to the community connectivity, such as public transit access, automobile trip reduction, and walkability;
  • provides an example of increasing density in an existing lower-density urban neighborhood;
  • demonstrates commitment to urban sustainability and climate resiliency;
  • and/or pays tribute to innovation in placemaking.

The Common App

AIASF has adopted AIA California's "Common App" as part of the submission requirements to help identify how each project responds to the urgency of climate action given the broad impacts the built environment places on both people and planet. Please be sure to use the current version of the Common App available here. For further requirements and guidance on completing the Common App as part of your submission, visit the AIASF website here. Please note that some of the technical information requested on the Common App may require consultation with your engineer, and take this into account when preparing your submission.

Common App Webinar: join AIA San Francisco’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) for a conversation around the submission requirements for the Common App component in AIASF’s Design Awards program, and the technical review of the Common App that all entries will undergo.

The session is led by COTE co-chairs Mark Kelly, AIA, and Charlie Stott, AIA, with Vaclav Hasik of Building Transparency, and includes audience Q+A.

VIEW RECORDING

Jury Selection Team

Anne Fougeron, FAIA
Principal | Fougeron Architecture

Craig Hartman, FAIA
Senior Consulting Design Partner | Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Liz Ranieri, FAIA
Managing Principal | Kuth Ranieri

Sustainability Advisory Team

Charlie Stott, AIA, LEED AP
Principal | Stott Architects

Mark Kelly, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Associate Principal, Director of Sustainability | BAR Architects & Interiors


Takashi Yanai, FAIA

Takashi Yanai is a Partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and has been Residential Studio Director since 2004. Takashi is also currently leading EYRC’s San Francisco Studio.Prior to practice, Takashi was a design journalist and editor at GA Houses in Tokyo where his work and travels provided the seeds for his design philosophy. Today his work is rooted in its contemplative relationship to landscape and is a continuation of the California Modernist ethos infused with reinterpretations of traditional Japanese elements. In 2017 he was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in recognition of his residential work, which articulates how architecture can “connect man and nature through masterful siting and exceptional craft.” Takashi serves on the SFMOMA Photography Accessions as well as the Architecture+Design Accessions Committees and has also been appointed the Chair of the National AIA Committee on Design for 2021.

Lisa Iwamoto, FAIA

Lisa Iwamoto is Founding Partner of IwamotoScott Architecture which she leads together with her Partner, Craig Scott. IwamotoScott has received numerous awards including the Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian National Design Award, Interior Design Hall of Fame, the Architectural League’s Emerging Voices and Young Architects, Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard, over twenty AIA Design Awards including a National Award, P/A Award and numerous other architecture and interior awards. Lisa was also named Next Generation Leader by Architectural Record’s Women in Architecture. IwamotoScott’s work has been published in hundreds of journals and exhibited in numerous museums and galleries. Lisa received her Master of Architecture degree with Distinction from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Colorado. She is author of Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques published in 2009 by Princeton Architectural Press and is Professor and Chair, Department of Architecture at the University of California Berkeley.

Jonathan Moody, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP

As the leader of one of the profession’s storied firms, Jonathan Moody, AIA, is guided by his focused mission to deliver transformational design to underserved communities across the country. Like his father before him, Moody has faced discrimination and a lack of diversity in the profession head on. Bolstered by the challenges he has overcome, Moody has positioned himself as a presence in the communities he serves and a leader at all levels. Moody grew up in Columbus, Ohio, in an architect’s household; his father, Curtis Moody, FAIA, told him stories of the challenges he faced as an aspiring Black architect. Later, Moody found himself in a similar position as a Black athlete who leveraged sports as a way to pursue his studies. When he earned a spot on Cornell University’s football team, he was warned that it would be impossible for him to compete and earn his bachelor’s degree at the same time. Undaunted, Moody played football for all four years and became the school’s scholar athlete of the year. Not long after, he was recognized with Cornell’s Bronze Alpha Rho Chi Medal, which honors graduating architecture students for their leadership and service. 

Meryati Johari Blackwell, AIA, ASID, LEED AP

Meryati Blackwell, AIA, ASID, LEED AP, is a Principal and the Director of Interiors at Marlon Blackwell Architects. Ati has been a guiding force in the growth of MBA, helping to transform the firm from a sole proprietorship to a thriving international practice it is today. She continues to work closely with Marlon and project teams to deliver thoughtful and award-winning designs that are both sensual and sensible. 

Katherine Chia, FAIA

Katherine Chia, FAIA,  is a founding principal of Desai Chia Architecture.  Since 1996, she and her partner & husband, Arjun Desai, have established the firm’s reputation for authentic design, creating inspiring environments expressive of light, materials, and spaces that foster collaboration; Desai Chia’s portfolio includes cultural, residential, commercial & institutional projects as well as commissions for product design and collaborations with artists.  Desai Chia’s projects have been published extensively and received numerous accolades including numerous AIA and American Architecture Awards, Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Good Design Awards, and an AIA Institute Honor Award.  Throughout her career, Katherine Chia FAIA has worked on projects that require an ever-evolving, inter-disciplinary approach — weaving together site, community, and culture into a range of inspiring buildings and environments.  Her projects extend from Manhattan to Singapore, and many locations in between.

2023 Design Celebration

Save the Date: Thursday, May 4 | 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Herbst Theatre (Presentation) | The Green Room (Reception)

AIASF is celebrating excellence in Architecture and Design with one of the Chapter’s biggest events. Join the Bay Area's built environment community in-person for a special evening, including recognition of this year’s Design Awards recipients. Stay tuned for more information!

Redeem AXP Credit Hours

AXP candidates can receive credit hours for design competition entries. Candidates should fill out the Design Competition Verification form. This form is to certify that the AIASF Design Awards program meets the requirements of completing a design competition for AXP credit as defined in the AXP Guidelines.

For information on AXP Experience reporting, visit NCARB's AXP Guidelines.

AIA California and AIA National Award Programs

Visit the following websites for more information on state-wide and national design award programs:

AIA National Awards AIA California Design Awards

Questions

Questions about your eligibility or the submission process? View our FAQ page

Submissions inquiries
Claire Hansen, AIASF Programs Associate
chansen@aiasf.org

Sponsorship

2023 Sponsorship Opportunities

Be part of the Bay Area's built environment community and participate as a sponsor of the 2023 AIASF Design Awards!

Sponsorship inquiries
Raul Orellana, AIASF Development Associate
rorellana@aiasf.org

General inquiries
info@aiasf.org

AIASF Design Awards Recipients