Unbuilt Design Award

AIASF Design Awards: Unbuilt Design Award

The call for submissions to AIA San Francisco’s 2022 Design Awards program has closed; the 2023 program cycle will open at the end of this year.




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.



  • This category is open to AIA San Francisco members as well as nonmembers.
  • Any person or firm is eligible to submit theoretical 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 boundariesare 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.
  • Design must be dated within four years of the final submission deadline.



AIASF is honored to welcome Rodolphe el-Khoury, Sharon Johnston, FAIA, Nader Tehrani, Marion Weiss, FAIA, and Angela Wu, AIA to the 2022 AIASF Design Awards jury. Juror details are available here.



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 Design
  • Anticipated Project Cost
  • Theoretical 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.
  • 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



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.



By submitting to AIASF’s Design Awards program, you agree to our Terms + Conditions, detailed here.



Have a question about your eligibility or the submission process? View our frequently asked questions or email Annabelle Udo-O’Malley, AIASF Program Manager: auomalley@aiasf.org

Interested in sponsorship? Email Amy Ress, AIASF Deputy Director: aress@aiasf.org