Tribune Tower Conversion | Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB),
Architecture Large Honor Award; © Dave Burk

Design Excellence Awards

AIA Chicago’s Design Excellence Awards honor the outstanding work of AIA Chicago members and their firms, reinforce the value of great architecture, and highlight members’ contributions in designing equitable and sustainable places and spaces. These awards are given based on project square footage: Architecture: XS, S, M, L, and XL, and Interior Architecture: S, M, and L categories.

The highest possible honor, the Honor Award, recognizes projects that exemplify excellence in architectural design on all levels and embrace the highest standards to which AIA members aspire. One Honor Award is given for each of the project categories and must be selected by a unanimous vote from the jury.

Granted to projects which display a high standard of architectural quality and design, the Citation of Merit is a project deemed unanimously or by consensus of jury members. The number of Citation of Merit awards is given at the discretion of the jury.

Design Excellence Award Categories:

Architecture XS: Max 5,000 SF*
Examples: Additions, Pavilions, Homes, Bridges, Street Furniture, Shops. *if the project is a single-family home but is larger than 5,000 SF it will automatically be assigned to the Architecture XS category.

Architecture S: Max 20,000 SF
Examples: Commercial, Libraries, Religious Institutions, Community Centers

Architecture M: Max 200,000 SF
Examples: MultiFamily residential, Museums, K-12 Schools, University, Courthouse

Architecture L: Max 750,000 SF
Examples: Mid-to-Highrise, Museums, Hospitality, Healthcare, Resorts

Architecture XL: 750,000+ SF
Examples: Supertall, Convention Centers, Airports, Stadiums, Urban Planning

Interior Architecture S: Max 2,500 SF
Examples: Storefront, Kiosk, Residential, Exhibitions, Renovations

Interior Architecture M: Max 20,000 SF
Examples: Commercial, Residential, Healthcare, Hospitality

Interior Architecture L: 20,000+ SF
Examples: Hospitality, Healthcare, Government, Headquarters, Education

Award Information

Submissions open: Week of April 15, 2024

Submissions close: Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at 5:00pm Central

Submission fee: 
AIA Members with 11+ employees: $225
AIA Members with 10 or fewer employees: $180 (20% fee reduction)

2024 Rules and Regulations
Submission Success Webinar
AIA Framework for Design Excellence
Sample Entry Form
Submissions Now Closed
View 2023 Finalists
View Past Recipients

2024 Jury A

Jury A reviews Architecture XS and S; Interior Architecture S and M; and Divine Detail


Barbara Bestor, FAIA
Bestor Architecture
Los Angeles, CA


Hansy Better Barazza, AIA, LEED AP, NOMA
Studio Luz Architects, ltd.
Boston, MA


Brandon Bibby, AIA, NOMA
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Cambridge, MA


Lee Ann Roth Gamble, AIA
Gamble + Gamble Architects
Atlanta, GA


Brien Graham, AIA, NOMA, NCARB
Dallas, TX


Brandon Welling
Culver City, CA

2024 Jury B

Jury B reviews Architecture M, L, and XL; Interior Architecture L


Daniel Baumann, Assoc. AIA
Henning Larsen
New York, NY


Khalid Kahn, Assoc. AIA
Neumann Monson Architects
Des Moines, IA


Jeffrey Kenoff, FAIA
Kohn Pedersen Fox
New York, NY


Amanda Levete, RIBA, Hon. AIA
Amanda Levete
London, UK


Monica Rodriguez, AIA
House & Robertson Architects
Culver City, CA


Katherine Williams, AIA, NOMA
Georgetown University
Falls Church, VA

2024 Jury Chair (non-voting role)

Florencia Rodriguez
Director, University of Illinois Chicago Department of Architecture

* Indicates Jury Alternate. These individuals serve as non-voting members of the jury, except in cases of a tie or to fill the role of an absent or recused juror.

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