Design Awards


2020 Design Awards

Coming this Fall!

The AIA Silicon Valley Design Awards program recognizes the outstanding achievements in architecture and design of Silicon Valley individuals and organizations as well as celebrates the distinguished work of architects and related professionals from afar who contribute to the framework of our local built environment. The program serves to inform the public of the breadth and value of architectural practice.

Interested to join the 2020 Design Awards Committee to help plan the Design Awards from the Call for Submissions to the Ceremony and Reception? Email to learn more.



Design Award Categories


The Design Awards submission is structured into main categories and optional concentrations. In addition to the design awards given in each main category – Architecture, Residential, Interior Architecture, Urban Design / Master Plan, Small Project / Big Impact, Unbuilt / Research / Competition, and Social Responsibility Architecture, Residential, Interior Architecture, Urban Design / Master Plan, Small Project / Big Impact, Unbuilt / Research / Competition – the jury will evaluate projects based on a variety of features, including unique design, originality, extended use attributes, sustainability, budget, and use of environmental surroundings.


Architecture – Open to any project type, including renovations, adaptive reuse, preservation, multi-family housing, commercial and new construction.


Residential – Open to only single family residential home projects.  This category includes new builds, remodels, additions and historic preservation. 


Urban Design / Master Plan – Projects beyond the scale of an individual building which expand the role of the architect by contributing to urban planning and community development and which demonstrate a significant contribution to improving the quality of life in neighborhoods, communities or regions. Examples include, but are not limited to, civic projects; landscape projects; urban planning; environmental projects; and design advocacy on behalf of the public.


Interior Architecture – Interiors projects not limited by scale, budget, or project type. Entries may include renovations, additions, adaptive reuse, preservation or new construction.


Small Project / Big Impact – Commissions that leverage design opportunities to produce a positive impact beyond the limits imposed by small scale and/or budget. Projects may be of any type or scale including furniture and industrial design.  


Unbuilt / Research / Competition – Projects of any scale or type whose construction has not commenced at the deadline for submissions to this awards program. Projects are eligible for consideration even if their physical realization is never anticipated. This includes the work of students in accredited school architecture programs pursuing degrees in architecture or otherwise on a career path toward a professional degree in architecture.


Social ResponsibilityProjects of any scale that were performed pro bono by a member of AIA Silicon Valley to make the world a better place through service and philanthropy qualify.



Entrants must be licensed architects. Members of the AIA Silicon Valley may submit projects completed after December 2009 located anywhere. Non-Members can submit only projects built in the County of Santa Clara after December 2009.


Entrants for the Unbuilt Projects category shall be similarly qualified, but in addition to these qualifications, entrants may also be Student or Associate members of the AIA Silicon Valley.



Special Awards


Through its Special Awards program, the Chapter recognizes outstanding achievements in four distinct areas. Open to active members of the AIA Silicon Valley.


Birge Clark Award – This award recognizes outstanding achievement in architectural design as expressed in a body of work produced by an individual architect over a period of at least 10 years.  The award is intended to honor the individual rather than the firm. The emphasis of the awards is the quality of the body of architectural work, consistently designed, over the career of the architect.


Firm Award – This award recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architectural design for a period of at least 20 years and has contributed to the advancement of the profession in at least three of the following areas: architectural design, research, planning, technology, practice, preservation and innovation. In addition, the award honors a firm that promotes continual collaboration among individuals, produces work which transcends a specific area of expertise, has a record of community service, and develops a culture which educates and mentors the next generation of architects.


25 Year Award – This award recognizes a distinguished project of enduring architectural significance, which has retained its central form, character and integrity intact over time.  The entry shall have been completed 25 to 50 years ago, after January 1, 1967 and prior to January 1, 1992.


People’s Choice Award – This award is selected via public participation through an on-line website. The viewer is invited to choose from a select list of designs located in Santa Clara County. Write-in candidates will also be eligible for this award.



Entrant shall be a member of AIA Silicon Valley. Submit a PowerPoint of your own design choosing, not more than 20 slides.