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AIAS/AGA Ascension Program 

Competition Deadline Extened to October 4

*For those participating in the AIAS AGA Ascension Competition, please see pages 50-51 and 100 for materials inspiration!


The Galvanize It! webinar assists teams designing galvanized steel ramps for the Ascension competition. The presentation will review the galvanizing process, coating characteristics, ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) specifications, and best design practices for high-quality products to ensure the designs submitted are realistic and able to be produced. Following the presentation, the AGA answers some questions from the participants.

Presenter: Melissa Lindsley

Melissa Lindsley is the Marketing Director for the American Galvanizers Association (AGA), and has been promoted twice within the organization since starting in 2005. Melissa develops the marketing initiatives of the AGA and is recognized as a leading voice for the galvanizing industry. She educates architects, engineers, fabricators, owners, and other specifiers about the technical aspects and benefits of hot-dip galvanizing.

Register for the competition

Competition Submission Deadline: October 4, 2013


Every year United States veterans return home with injury; in fact, roughly 26% of our veterans live with some kind of disability from the service they gave to our country. Many return home with loss of mobility (bullet wound, loss of limbs, etc) that drastically changes the way they interact with the world and sometimes even the loss of the very freedoms they defended. This is not what our veterans deserve and this is why the American Institute of Architecture Students and the American Galvanizers Association have teamed to help offer freedom back to veterans by presenting the Design Competition, Ascension.

Ascension asks students from around the globe to explore ways of ascending for those who must now continue to fight just to enter their home.

The goal is to create an adaptable, lightweight wheelchair ramp for injured veterans utilizing galvanized steel that will give injured veterans the freedom to come home.

The winning design will be produced and implemented throughout the country for deserving veterans and make a difference in the lives and communities of those who served our country. Competition entries will need to stretch common thinking to create a ramp with interchangeable parts that can be adapted and used in many different home configurations. The possibilities are endless but the chance to enter your own home with dignity should be for everyone and something we all fight for each day.


  • Generate new ideas for an adaptable, lightweight wheelchair ramp designed using galvanized steel
  • Familiarize designers with ADA Accessibility Guidelines and Universal Design
  • Educate participants with the benefits of using galvanized steel in your designs 
  • Create an effective design that can be easily constructed and installed to help people with disabilities
  • Encourage collaborative work between architecture and engineering students


The evaluation criteria for this praticular competition will be weighted heavily, as the winning design will be built. All competition entries will be evaluated on the following points by a review jury. Teams/Individuals are encouraged to work in partnership with their engineering and construction departments or seek mentors, to be sure the ramp can actually be built- buildability and affordability are essential components.

In addressing the specific issues of the design challenge, submissions will be evaluated on the following:

  • Ramps must be safe and designed to meet code requirements in US and Candada
  • Designs must be 100% galvanized steel
  • Ramps must be modular in design and have interchangeable features
  • Must be attractive and lightweight in design
  • Ramp must be easy to erect without the need of complex instructions
  • Design must be made with low cost, readily available materials from local steel supply houses (avoiding special order materials)
  • Use of SDS/2 Design Software (optional)


In September of 2013, the award winners and honorable mentions will be announced via the AIAS website. In addition, the award winning design will be displayed at the 2014 AIA Convention and Design Exposition and at AIAS FORUM 2013 Chicago, IL. The winning design will also be highlighted in the Fall 2013 issue of Crit, Journal of the AIAS. A press release listing the winning projects will be sent to the schools of all participating students as well as posted on the AIAS website, and the AGA website The AGA will produce and install the winning design each year thoughout the country for deserving citizens in need.

Winning students/teams and their AIAS Chapters will receive cash prizes totaling up to $10,000, with the following distribution: 

First Place Team/Individual       $8,000.00
First Place AIAS Chapter           $1,500.00

First Place Faculty Advisor       $500.00


Submissions can be the work of an individual or a group of up to 4 members. While the design competition focuses on issues more suitable for advanced students, all architecture and design students worldwide may enter. Additionally, young designers that have graduated within 18 months of the registration deadline may enter. Submissions should be principally the product of work in a design studio, planning class, AIAS Freedom by Design team, design charrette or a person's spare time.

All information and materials needed to successfully participate in the competition are contained in this program document.There is no entry or submission fee required to participate in the competition for AIAS members. There is a $10.00 USD submission fee for non-members in North America and in other international countries. Competition entries may be the work of an individual or team.


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