2020 Design Awards Submissions

To salute excellence in architecture, AIA East Tennessee conducts an annual juried Design Awards Program. This program seeks to honor built and unbuilt works of distinction designed by AIA members in upper and middle East Tennessee, and to serve as a catalyst for local participation in the AIA Tennessee Awards Program. The program also brings public attention to outstanding examples of architecture. Winners of this year’s program will be announced and celebrated at the 2020 Design Awards Gala on April 25th at Lakeshore Park’s Marble Hall. This competition is open to all members of AIA East Tennessee.

Matthew DeBardelaben is Chair of the 2020 Awards Program.
Direct questions to Matthew at 865-809-8480 or [email protected]

How to Enter

To make a submission:

  1. Submit the Registration Form and Entry Fee by Friday, February 28, 2020 at 5 PM. You may submit registrations at any time between now and the February 28, 2020 deadline.
  2. Once the Registration is received, you will receive the Electronic Submission Template for each entry and Submission Instructions via e-mail.
  3. All electronic materials must be submitted for the jury by Friday, March 6, 2020 at 5 PM. Entries not following the submission guidelines outlined below will not be accepted.


Any architectural project completed since 2014 which has been produced by, or in collaboration with, a member of AIA East Tennessee Chapter is eligible for submission. Projects may have been executed anywhere in the United States. Firms are encouraged to submit previously submitted past non-winning projects as well as those that have won awards in other programs. The Design Awards Program is open to architectural projects of all types, including unbuilt work. An entry may consist of one building, a related group of buildings forming a single project, or an interior design project. The term “building” includes any new architectonic composition as well as the remodeling, rehabilitation, and/or preservation of existing structures. Unbuilt work prepared for academic purposes may not be submitted.


Awards will be designated by a jury of architects whose work and reputations have been nationally established. The 2020 Jury Chair is Jennifer Charzewski of Liollio Architecture in Charleston, SC. Each project will be judged according to its own merit and to how well it solves the problem(s) addressed. Projects should also demonstrate the AIA national commitment to sustainability and resilience as detailed in the COTE Top Ten Toolkit. Projects will not be judged in competition with each other, but by measuring the architect’s performance against each project’s potential. Design Awards can be given in three degrees: Honor, Merit and Citation. Honor Awards, the top honor, will be granted to built projects for overall design excellence. Merit Awards will be granted to built projects worthy of recognition because of their design quality. Citation Awards will be granted at the discretion of the jury.


For clarity, please designate the general classification of the submitted project from the following:

  • New Construction
  • Renovation/Restoration
  • Residential
  • Architectural Interior Design
  • Emerging Professionals
  • Unbuilt

When a project could be described by more than one classification, it is the entrant’s obligation to make the most appropriate choice. Jurors are not obligated to provide awards for each classification.

Emerging Professionals classification: To be eligible for the Emerging Professionals classification, entries must be submitted by AIA or Associate AIA members with less than ten years’ experience as registered architects. Entries in this category need not be built.

Unbuilt classification: Projects that are not yet or never to be constructed may be submitted under the Unbuilt classification.

This includes projects that are on the boards, conceptual/theoretical in nature, and competition entries. If later constructed, projects entered in this classification may be submitted for future consideration by the Design Awards Program even if they have previously won an award in the Unbuilt classification.

Unbuilt projects will only be eligible for Merit Awards.

Submission Guidelines

Project Presentation (PDF): The AIA East Tennessee Design Awards uses an electronic format. Upon receipt of your registration form and fee, you will be provided a presentation template with further instructions. The template has been designed so that you will be able to drop your text and images into a preset layout. To maintain consistency and fairness, no modifications to the layout of the template will be accepted. When your entry is complete, save the presentation as a PDF file for submission via e-mail, not larger than 10 MB.

Each presentation must include the following:

  • Project Information: Include a 250 word program statement, a 25 word program summary, area and cost/square foot, construction cost, date of completion (if built). Each slide of the presentation must include the entry’s code number, which indicates classification.
  • Plans and Drawings: Include site plan, floor plan(s), sections, details, and/or diagrams as needed to explain the project’s design merits.
  • Photographs/Perspectival Representations: Include exterior views showing major elevations, interior views (one or more), other views or details describing special features, nighttime images, construction systems, “before-after” views, etc.

Participants should ensure that all images included in the entry submission contribute to supporting the project statement. Each should have a purpose as it relates to the larger idea. Photos should contain compelling pieces of information to make the statement readily understood. Label plans clearly, including a north arrow. On each slide, you can layer images and plans or place images side by side. The area beside the slide images is available for text to further illustrate your point. Keep in mind the impact the image will make once projected on a larger screen.  These slides should not contain anything that would identify either an individual, firm or project.

Identification Information (PDF): In a separate PDF file, include the name and location of the project, owner/client, architect(s) of record by name and address, project team, landscape architect, relevant design consultants, general contractor, photographer and project code as assigned. This information will not be seen by the jury, but is used for promotional purposes.

Best Project Image (JPG): For marketing purposes, each submission must also include a single image that best captures the merits of the project. This should be submitted in JPG format, square aspect ratio, measuring 1,200 pixels x 1,200 pixels, and file size not larger than 5MB. The person holding copyright on this image must be credited when the work is submitted.

Any eligible project submitted for a Design Award through the East Tennessee AIA Awards Program will also be entered into a competition for the People’s Choice Award. This award recognizes the impact architecture and design has on the people of East Tennessee. The People’s Choice Award is an opportunity for the excellent work prepared by members of our chapter to be promoted to a broader audience. Winners of this year’s People Choice Award will be announced and celebrated at the 2020 East Tennessee Design Awards Gala, with the presentation of awards certificates to follow during the next regular membership luncheon.


There are two categories for the People’s Choice Award. Neither is anonymous.

People’s Choice: Any project(s) submitted for a design award will be featured on a public page on the AIA East Tennessee website for online voting. The AIA East Tennessee chapter will promote the online People’s Choice Award through various marketing venues. Visitors to the site will be able to vote for their favorite project over a two-week period in October, with voting concluding on the day of the Design Awards Program.

Member’s Choice: Any project(s) submitted for a design award will also be considered for a People’s Choice Award decided by the AIA Membership and guests in attendance for the Design Awards Event. All submissions will be automatically be entered. NO BOARDS NEED TO BE PROVIDED. This will be done through the best image submitted.

Registration Form

  • Note: Please present the firm name as it should appear on any award. This name will be credited as the architect when any projects listed below are presented for marketing or publicity purposes, and on any awards certificates issued. A separate form should be submitted for each unique architecture firm or design entity.
  • Project Information

  • A separate Code Number will be assigned to each entry by AIA ETN. All submitted materials shall be identified by Code Number only. Multiple entries from one firm will be assigned random (not sequential) code numbers to ensure fairness.

    For Classification please indicate the following: New Construction, Renovation/Restoration, Residential, Architectural Interior Design, Emerging Professionals, Unbuilt, Sustainable Design, Preservation/Restoration

    Note: Please present all names as they should appear on any award.

    Please click the (+) to add more projects.
  • Project NameLocationClient NameContractorClassification 
  • Entry Fees

  • The entry fee for the Design Awards is $150 per project. Exception: eligible projects may be submitted in the Emerging Professionals classification for $125 per project. Please fill out the total number of projects below. You will be redirected to Paypal to complete payment of fees.

    Alternately you may mail a check made payable to “AIA East Tennessee” to: AIA East Tennessee, P. O. Box 11668, Knoxvillle, TN 37939-1668
  • Price: $150.00 Quantity:
    Please enter the total number of projects being submitted
  • Price: $125.00 Quantity:
    Please enter the total number of Emerging Professionals projects being submitted
  • $0.00
  • Questions

  • Direct questions to Matthew at 865-809-8480 or [email protected]