AIA Ohio Student Design Awards | Guidelines

2023 Deadline: June 3

The AIA Ohio Student Design Awards program focuses on high quality, innovative design responses. This program allows students to submit any school project they have worked on during the past academic year, including projects completed outside of the classroom setting (e.g. competitions). Students may even elect to re-address projects previously submitted as part of course work and improve their original design
solution. The AIA Ohio Student Design Awards provides all students with the opportunity to submit their best and most innovative work.

View Brief 2022 Winners

Student Work:


Students at any of the five (5) Ohio architectural programs are eligible to submit their work. The program will work as follows:

  • Students may submit any work that they have completed either individually or as a team during this current academic year.
  • The work can be from a studio project, independent study or just a project or concept that appeals to the student.
  • At or near the end of the academic year, students should submit projects for review by an in-house jury. The submission requirements for the in-house jury will be up to each school. Any format of projects (boards, PowerPoint, web based, etc.,) are acceptable. All are valid. The end result is that AIA Ohio is looking for each school to select the top eight (8) submissions to forward on to AIA Ohio. AIA Ohio will require the winning projects to upload their submissions via Openwater, a webbased awards management program that permits the submission of a variety of different formats, including png, jpg, pdf and Word documents.
    • IMAGES: A maximum of 10 images will be allowed to be uploaded per submission.
  • DESCRIPTION PAGE: The students, in addition to their images, will need to submit a written description of their work. This should be a 100-150 word statement of their process and conceptual approach to addressing the studio problem. While projects will be evaluated on the entire composition, it is also important for the projects to be juried against the students’ own statement.
  • Each school should select a competition coordinator, who will have responsibility for communicating with students and AIA Ohio, receiving entries, and overseeing the school jury process.

Jury Process

The Schools

  • AIA Ohio would like to see the best and most innovative designs submitted and as part of this focus, we are leaving the submissions wide open. There are no restrictions as to the type of projects submitted. Given this, key review criteria include, design excellence, innovation, and an assessment of how well the design solution solves the problem addressed in the written statement. No single student may submit more than one individual project.
  • AIA Ohio requests that the jury process include (in addition to faculty) design professionals, alumni, or others who will help strengthen the review process. While there are a number of adjunct faculty in many of the schools, it is our hope that others outside of the faculty would be invited to participate in this process. The actual makeup of the in-house jury remains the responsibility of the
    schools and AIA Ohio will accept the process determined appropriate by each school.
  • Through this process, the students will have the opportunity to submit their best work that illustrates design ability and innovative thinking on a range of topics. Once each school’s jury has selected the top eight submissions, the students/schools will be provided with information on how to upload those projects to Openwater for AIA Ohio to review.

AIA Ohio

  • The AIA Ohio Student Design Awards shall be coordinated by the AIA Ohio secretary or designee in conjunction with AIA Ohio staff and management.
  •  Once submissions are uploaded to AIA Ohio via Openwater, the jury will review all submissions provided from the schools.
  • The jury will be comprised of approximately five individuals selected by AIA Ohio and will include respected designers from throughout Ohio who are members of the AIA and who represent some of the same innovative thinking approaches to design that we seek from student submissions. The Student Design Awards Coordinator (or designee) will coordinate the work of the jury and will serve in a non-voting capacity.
  • Given the anticipated variety in submissions, the jury will have flexibility in determining awards and the number and rank of awards (1st, 2nd, 3rd place, honorable mention). At least one first place award of $1,000 or more will be provided with other awards equaling not less than $500. A total of approximately $5,000 will be awarded.
  • All work submitted for review by the AIA Ohio must be anonymous. Names of students and academic institutions should be removed from all documents submitted.

Submission Format

The process for submitting and reviewing projects is flexible and adaptable to student and school needs. All projects need to be uploaded to Openwater. The deadline for submissions to AIA Ohio is June 3. It should be noted that as part of the student submissions, AIA Ohio is not requiring printed or mounted displays. The projects will be displayed digitally.


The student award recipients/schools will be notified on June 30, 2022.