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The AIAS supports and sponsors design competitions to contribute to the education of all students. Competitions present unique opportunities to investigate and utilize building materials and design techniques from different perspectives or those that the student might not be familiar with already. Furthermore, participants compete among students from a broad range of programs and are evaluated by diverse juries of experts. Competitions can also assist instructors with developing a repertoire of design challenges to use in studio courses.

Since the 1970’s, the sponsors have included: AARP, American Galvanizers Association, American Institute of Steel Construction, American Life Insurance Co., American Plastics Council, Apple, Cadkey, Copper Development Association, International Corrugated Packaging Foundation, International Masonry Institute, Graphisoft, GE, Jeld-Wen, Kawneer, Lego, McDonald’s, Modular Building Institute, National Endowment for the Arts, National Science Foundation, National Roofing Contractors Association, Sheet Metal Workers, Trespa, US Information Agency, and the Vinyl Institute.

4th International Holcim Awards

The 4th International Holcim Awards is open for entries until March 24, 2014 so time is running out.  The next cycle of the Holcim Awards will not be until 2016 so please don’t let this opportunity slip away. Since 2003, the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction has led the field in recognizing innovative projects and future-oriented concepts from architects and designers worldwide. No vision is too big and no project is too small. From now to March 24, 2014, the Holcim Awards is accepting submissions that envision a more sustainable and equitable built environment for all.

Past winners in the main category like Public Architecture know how transformative the Holcim Awards can be in taking a project from vision to reality and for students it may be the difference in getting a job after graduating. 

So why apply for the Holcim Awards?

·  You may be working on a potential winner right now. You have likely already made a significant investment in promoting socially responsible and sustainable design. Through the Holcim Awards, you can share your research, designs, and methodologies with an appreciative audience while advancing the practice of social impact design worldwide.

·  Join forward-thinking architects and designers from around the world. From students and young professionals to established firms like Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, the Holcim Awards attracts submissions from visionary practitioners and leaders around the world. Winners from the five regional competitions in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa Middle East, and Asia Pacific in 2014 will then advance to the Global Holcim Awards in 2015.

·  Share more than projects—share values, too. Together with its internationally renowned partner universities, the Holcim Foundation has developed five target issues for evaluating Awards: Progress, People, Planet, Prosperity, and Proficiency. Learn more about Holcim’s high standards of innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility here.

·  Impact matters. From small projects like Public Architecture’s Day Labor Station to large projects like an urban remediation and civic infrastructure hub in São Paulo, Brazil, the independent juries of the Holcim Awards know that innovation and transformation happen at many different scales.

·  Gain real recognition, with real rewards. Not only is the Holcim Awards an opportunity to showcase your work on an international stage, but Award winners also receive a significant cash prize. Altogether, the Foundation awards a total of $2 million to winning projects and designers each cycle.

Interested? Learn more about the Awards, including details about project eligibility, competition levels, and evaluation criteria, at the Holcim Awardswebsite.

Have a project in mind? Download the step-by-step application guide hereto get a head start!

Questions? Connect with the Holcim Awards via Facebook and Twitter(@HolcimAwardsUS).

Happy applying!


·  “Next Generation” (student and young professional level)

o For visionary projects and bold ideas

o Authors must be between 18 and 30 years of age (born between July 2, 1982, and March 24, 1996)

Full eligibility details are available via the Holcim Awards website.


'Transformation 2030' is a global design competition that challenges architecture and engineering students to design a high-performance building that has a positive transformational impact on people and the planet. Participants get real-world experience designing a building based on existing industry needs and regulations, located in an actual community in need.

BPA Certificate In May of 2013, the carbon in the earth’s atmosphere crossed the symbolic threshold of 400ppm. According to the scientific community, climate change is happening and its effects will have severe consequences for our society and environment. We are already seeing the effects in the form of increasingly violent storms, rising sea levels, record setting temperatures, and rapidly diminishing biodiversity. We may soon reach a “Point of No Return” with dangerous and unpredictable consequences.

As members of the design and construction community, we have a responsibility to help reduce emissions from the building sector, which presently represents 46.7% of U.S. CO2 emissions (see, Buildings and Climate Change). New regulations and industry initiatives in the last 10-15 years, such as USGBC’s LEED program and the Architecture 2030 Challenge, are helping to drive industry transformation, but many feel that it is not happening fast enough. An often-quoted target is that 100% of all new buildings be net-zero by 2030 (Obama’s Executive Order 13514). In order to achieve these ambitious goals, it is critical that designers and engineers understand principles of energy efficient design and the workflows necessary to test the efficacy of their proposals.2

In light of these pressing issues, The Autodesk® Building Performance Analysis (BPA) Certificate program and Architecture 2030’s 2030 Palette are both designed to help architects and engineers create high performance buildings that use less energy, emit less carbon, and are more comfortable to inhabit. Software tools, such as Autodesk® Vasari, Revit®, and Green Building Studio® allow users to analyze dynamic energy interactions within a building and iteratively test different options quickly to quantify a building’s predicted energy use profile. When these tools are used in conjunction with sound building science principles, it is possible to drastically reduce energy costs and emissions, and meet the 2030 Challenge.

Register for the competition here!  

Registration Deadline: February 1, 2014
Submission Deadline: April 20, 2014

Grand Prize: 5-8 Week paid internship at internationally renowned Perkins Eastman or $7500 for a team
2nd Place: $5000
3rd Place: $3000
4th Place: $1500
Faculty Sponsorship Award: $500

The BPA Certificate is a pre-requisite!



Americans--despite suffering frailties and infirmities--have overwhelmingly preferred to live in their own homes as they age. Yet designers responding to the needs of these seniors have poured their talents into alternative housing, such as assisted living, rather than into refashioning single family residences for lifelong tenure. The current design competition allows young designers to focus on this unmet need, by creating for a typical client a home in which to “Re-live Life”.

May I introduce you to your client --a warm and wonderful 95-year-old--who wishes to renovate his farm’s century-old log cabin as his home. He lives alone, drives legally, cooks and cleans for himself, and owns a new iPad. He wants a fresh, new design to enlarge his cabin in ways he can afford and which will allow him to care for himself while maintaining his independence. Student designers will be able to email questions to him, and all his replies will be posted on the competition website. The completed renovated residence will be limited to 1,500 gross sq. ft and should include a variety of high-tech products appropriate for independent seniors seeking permanent tenancy. Those adopting this competition will have a real-world experience both in dealing with the age cohort needing their services and in mastering the marketplace for products designed for aging-in-place, including personal robots and remote healthcare delivery systems.

Deadline for Registration: January 26, 2014
Deadline for Submissions: April 6, 2014

First Place Student: $2,500
First Place AIAS Chapter: $500

Second Place Student: $2,000
Second Place AIAS Chapter: $200

Third Place Student: $1,300
Third Place AIAS Chapter: $100

Honorable Mentions (3 at $300 ea): $900

Submit for the Competition Here!

 Tips for Laying Out Your Competition Boards

  1. Grab the Interest of the Audience: Provide a clear, succinct statement of what makes your design great. Very clear. Very succinct. Judges facing heaps of entries paw through them at a furious rate, and the brilliance may not leap to the glazed-over eye.
  2. Identify Your Message: Determine the purpose or main concept of your design boards. Do you want to advertise a specific element of you design? Explain how your design process came about? These key pieces of information will influence the overall design.
  3. Utilize the Power of Branding: Consider what important text and images you might like to include in the design boards, such as the name of project, design process, any explanations that can't be understood with images, a single large photograph or image or a series of smaller images.
  4. Be Clean and Concise: Narrow down your list of potential elements to a few key images and words. Design boards should contain as few elements as possible, to deliver a single message that's easy to spot from a distance.
  5. Make it Readable: Try resizing the text and images to emphasize and focus on the design board's most important message. Select a font for the text that is easy to read from a distance and matches the theme of your project. A general rule of thumb to follow is that your design boards should be readable from 10 feet away when projected on a 10 foot wide screen.
  6. Keep it Subtle: Choose a color scheme that suits the purpose and audience of the competition. Avoid using too many colors on the same design board.
  7. Be Creative: Experiment with different arrangements of these elements in your layout software, or print them out and arrange them on a flat surface of piece of poster board. Try overlapping elements, as well as putting them side by side or in a sequential order.
  8. Final Thought: Remember that your design boards have to express everything you would say to the jurors in person. Look at your design boards like a magazine article. By the last page does the reader get a full understanding of your project or are they left with questions?


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