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AIA Potomac Valley Excellence in Design Awards

Please read the instructions below and then click here to enter a project to the 2017 AIA Potomac Valley Excellence in Design Awards!



The AIA Potomac Valley Excellence in Design Awards program is designed to encourage and recognize distinguished architectural achievement; to honor the architectural team, their clients and consultants who work together to improve the built environment; to demonstrate the breadth of services architects provide; and to celebrate and raise public consciousness of the architect’s role in shaping the quality of life through design excellence.


Your design entry must be prepared and formatted as described below for submission through the digital portal.

If you've previously submitted a project, you have an account and will be able to login with those credentials. If you have not, you will automatically establish an account when you create an entry application for the first time. Please review detailed instructions on the portal home page if you experience any technological issues using the portal.

After creating an entry application, you may begin working on your forms and uploading the required files. You may save your work as you go and return to the site as often as needed, but all submission materials and entry fee payments must be completed and submitted by the submission deadline.

Once an entry is completed for a particular project, that entire project submission may then be submitted to another chapter awards program without any key re-entry or re-uploads. Simply check the box "I Want to Submit This Submission to Another Category" when you are ready to finalize your submission on the last page of the submission form.

AIA Potomac Valley Schedule 2017

  • Friday, July 21, 2017 (new date):  Submission Forms, Material Uploads and Entry Fees are due by 11:59pm EDT. Entry fee payments will be made by credit card in the awards submission portal when the project is ready for final submission.
  • August, 2017: Online Individual Juror Review by AIA Los Angeles Jurors
  • August 24, 2017: Live Jury Review @ EHRLICH YANAI RHEE CHANEY Architects
  • Thursday, October 19, 2017:  Design Awards Celebration, a joint event presented with the Montgomery County Planning Department at the Silver Spring Civic Building.

To complete your submission, you must:

  1. Complete the SUBMISSION FORM in the awards submission portal by Friday, July 21, 11:59 pm EDT
  2. Upload the PROJECT PDF, PRESENTATION PDF and IMAGE FILES to the submission portal and finalize by Friday, July 21, 11:59 pm EDT
  3. Make full payment of ENTRY FEES within submission portal (once project is finalized) or by mail to be received by Friday, July 21, 11:59 pm EDT

See Tips for Creating Strong Awards Entries

Please complete all requested information in the portal. Required fields are marked with an asterisk. Please be sure the information appears EXACTLY as you wish to see it published and listed on the awards certificates. Check the spelling of names carefully. You may save your work and return to the submission site as often as needed as long as you complete and submit all parts of the project submission, along with payment of entry fees, by the due date.

Please direct questions to AIA Potomac Valley at pam@aiapv.org, or 301.935.5544.


Participation is open to built and unbuilt projects completed after January 1, 2012 and not having been previously awarded by AIA Potomac Valley, except that projects that were previously awarded in an unbuilt category may be resubmitted in a built category. Unbuilt submissions may not be under construction at the time of submission. Entries must be submitted by the Firm of Record or the Architect of Record. There is no limit to the number of projects that may be entered by a firm. All materials submitted must be cleared for public reproduction. All entrants must be AIA members in good standing as of June 1, 2017.

  • Primary members of AIA Potomac Valley (architects or associates) who are a principal member of the design team or a Principal of the Firm responsible for the project; no geographic restrictions apply to primary members.
  • Primary members of other AIA chapters (architects and associates) who are a principal member of the design team or a Principal of the Firm responsible for the project AND the project is located within the geographic boundaries of the Potomac Valley chapter (Allegany, Charles, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Washington counties in Maryland).

Judging Criteria
Judging Criteria include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • DESIGN RESOLUTION: Does the project demonstrate skill and sensitivity to formal, functional and technical requirements?
  • SUSTAINABLE DESIGN: Does the project make intelligent use of available resources?
  • OVERALL DESIGN EXCELLENCE: Quality of the built form relative to its program, needs, challenges, and setting. Clarity of the partii. Does it further our understanding of design via new approaches?

Design Awards

  • Gold
  • Honor
  • Merit

Submission Categories

  • Institutional Architecture
  • Commercial Architecture
  • Multi-Family Architecture
  • Interior Architecture
  • Urban Design & Master Planning
  • Unbuilt Architecture
  • Residential Architecture
    • New Construction
    • Renovation and/or Addition
    • ​Small Projects (less than $200,000 construction budget) Photographs must be by the Architect or Owner of the project — no professional photography is allowed, including by Owners and Architects who happen to also be professional photographers.

New in 2017 

AIA Potomac Valley announces expanded Residential Architecture categories, including small projects, to broaden recognition of the work of custom residential architects in our region.

In lieu of unassigned membership, we now have a member fee for Potomac Valley chapter members, and a nonmember fee for members of other AIA chapters who want to enter projects that are physically located in AIAPV’s seven-county geographic region (Charles, Prince George’s, Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Garrett, and Allegany counties).


  • AIAPV Members: $175 per project entry
  • Other AIA Members: $275 per project entry
  • Residential Architecture - Small Projects only: 
    • AIAPV Members: $80 per project entry
    • Other AIA Members: $125 per project entry
  • Each entry includes one ticket to the 2017 AIAPV Design Awards Celebration. 
  • Registration fees are non-refundable.
  • By submitting a project, the submitting architect asserts that he or she has provided a complete list of participants who contributed substantially to the design of the project (regardless of discipline) and absolves AIAPV of any responsibility for omissions.


A complete submission will include:

  1. Completion of the online SUBMISSION FORM
  2. IMAGE FILEs of 5-8 digital images with photo file names, captions and image credit for each image
  3. PROJECT/JURY PDF (10MB, 10 pages max)
  4. PRESENTATION PDF (6MB, 3 pages max)
  5. Payment of Entry Fee

Conceal references to the architecture firm on all materials submitted for jury review. Identification of project authorship within the Project/Jury PDF will disqualify the submission.

The project PDFs may not exceed 10MB total (all pages combined) and shall conform to the following requirements.

  • An anonymous PROJECT/JURY PDF presentation file for jury review and evaluation purposes only.
  • PRESENTATION PDF presentation file for public presentation purposes.

PROJECT/JURY PDF (10MB, 10 pages max)

Entries shall conform to the following page requirements:

  • The total size of each entry—all pages combined—may not exceed 10MB of data.
  • Each submission may contain a maximum of 10 pages. At your discretion, submit individual images on separate pages, or arrange multiple elements in a layout on a page.
  • Each page shall be in PDF format, 8 1/2" x 11" in landscape orientation, and developed as a PDF presentation file. The jury will view your submission on computer screens and through screen projection. An easy way to produce your PDF presentation file is to create your presentation in PowerPoint and then save the file as a PDF.
  • When your pages are ready to submit, arrange the desired sequence of pages in a single .pdf presentation and reduce the file size.
  • Please remember you must conceal references to the architecture firm or team members on all PDFs submitted for jury review. Identification of project authorship within the project PDF, including the file naming convention and photo credit, will disqualify the submission.
  • Use this naming convention for the JURY presentation file: JPDF_ProjectName.pdf
First Page: Project Description and Introduction


  • 8 1/2" x 11" landscape orientation (all pages)
  • Combination of text and images, 12 pt. font minimum, formatted and designed at entrant's discretion.

Project Information:

  • Project Name
  • Project Location (City, State, if applicable)
  • Project Category (a project may be entered in only one category/omit PBOY designations)
  • Project Synopsis describing the "Site," "Program," and "Solution." As part of this synopsis, discuss key design aspects (intent, concepts, and contextual relationships), technical aspects (structure, materials, mechanical systems, etc. where informative), and the social, environmental or other benefits of the project to the public and its users.
Subsequent Pages (2–10): Visuals

Include images along with additional succinct annotation. The format and design of the pages are at the entrant's discretion; all pages should be in landscape orientation.

  • Please include photographs, drawings, floor plans, elevations, sections, renderings and graphic images as necessary to provide a clear understanding of the extent and quality of the finished project. A site plan is required. Photographs should depict the whole project with views of each exposed exterior façade and each room of the project, as appropriate. Exterior views are optional for Interiors projects.
  • Label images with suitable titling and captions. Photographer credit on the images used in the Project/Jury PDF is permitted except those by the firm and/or team members.
  • Renovations, restorations, additions and conversions should present “before” and “after” photographs. For projects involving changes to existing structures, documentation of original conditions is highly recommended. Process sketches that communicate the development of the project and/or its construction are encouraged.
  • Indicate the project’s physical context or site character through graphics and/or imagery.
  • Unbuilt projects should include floor plans, elevations, sections, renderings, graphic images, and/or site plans as necessary to provide a clear understanding of the project. If client-commissioned, include photos of the site location.

IMAGE FILE (5–8 images, JPG)

Provide no more than 8 images in JPG format (10MB max per image) than for use in the presentation of entrants, awards and publications. The Jury will not see these files. List photo file names, captions and photographer or rendering credit for each image. Three of the images are to be of high resolution of the best representation of the project - one thumbnail, one exterior photo and one interior photo. The Thumbnail image can be a repeat of one of the other two, or a different image entirely.The three high res images should be at least 300 dpi and 8'x10” and labeled 1) Project Name_thumbnail, 2) Project Name_high res ext and 3) Project Name_high res int. Subsequent images must be at a maximum of 6” x 9” at 150 dpi for horizontal images, and a maximum of 6” x 7.5” at 150 dpi for vertical images.

PRESENTATION PDF (6MB, 3 pages max)

Selected images of all entries will be displayed during the Design Awards Celebration, and images of award-winning entries will be displayed during the Awards Ceremony. To facilitate display of your entry, select three images or pages from your entry that you feel best represent your project.

Send PDF in the following format:

  • Download the PPT Template to prepare your Presentation PDF for the awards slideshow.
  • Three pages maximum.
  • The total size of PDF—all three pages combined—may not exceed 6MB of data.
  • 10” x 7.5”, in landscape orientation and developed as a PDF presentation file.
  • On each page add project title, firm name, firm logos or other identifiers as desired.
  • Use this naming convention for Presentation PDF file: PPDF_Firm Name_ProjectName.pdf

Download these Project Submission Instructions

Click here to enter a project to the 2017 AIA Potomac Valley Excellence in Design Awards!