Design Awards Concentrations

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 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.


Historic Preservation Concentration in collaboration SF Heritage
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 in collaboration with ADPSR
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 collaboration with SPUR
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.