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Registration, payment, and file upload will all be handled through OpenWater, an online awards management software that will help to streamline the submission process. OpenWater will host a gallery of all submissions for review by the jury.

There are two parts, or "rounds", to entering your project in the OpenWater system. First, you will complete the "Registration Round." If you haven't yet created an OpenWater account, you will be prompted to do so when you register your first entry. In the registration, you will declare your project, input basic project and firm information and pay for your submission(s). (If you need to change the category or name of the project after you've completed this round, contact AIA Aspire staff, and they can help you update that information.) Once finalized, your information will be saved and moved to the next round, the "Submission Round." This part of the submission is where you will enter detailed information and upload image files for your project(s). 


For Student Entries

Online registration and submission will open on Wednesday, June 15, 2022; and submissions must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern on Friday, July 29, 2022.  

No entries will be accepted after July 29.

For Professional Entries 

Online registration and submission will open on Wednesday, June 15, 2022; early bird registration must be completed by Friday, July 8, 2022; and submissions must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. eastern on Friday, July 29, 2022.  

Please note: you may register an entry after the July 8 early bird deadline, but the fee will increase (see Dates & Fees tab in the menu above).  No entries will be accepted after July 29!

The registration form will ask for a project title and require you to select an awards category (Design or Student).  If you are entering the Design Awards, you will also have to select a subcategory (see Categories tab in the menu above for a list of the subcategories). If you don't yet have a title or know which subcategory you want enter, provide a generic name and choose a subcategory for now. This will allow you to complete the form, pay for your entry, and receive an entry number. If you want to make any changes after you've completed the registration process, contact Keri Dixon at kdixon@aianc.org so we can give you access to your application.    

After completing the registration form, click on "add to cart" to proceed to the "review and checkout" payment page. If you are paying by check, follow the instructions and please note we must receive your payment no later than July 29. You will receive an email from "awards@aianc.org" confirming that we have received your registration.  

After you've registered and paid for your entry, you can continue to submit project information and file uploads by clicking on the "Click to Continue" link at the top of the page - or return to your submission at any time before the entry deadline on July 29.  

Compile each entry with the following:

  • A Short Description of your project. In no more than 100 words, briefly explain the design intent and scope of your project.
  • An Architect's Statement. In no more than 800 words, provide a more detailed explanation of the design problem and your solution. Include any special features of your project or issues that were addressed during the design process.
  • A maximum of twelve (12) JPG images that are 16:9 at at least 300 dpi, and labeled with the project title and image number (for example, "Project X - Image 1") 
  • A "Juror Image" - selected from those you'll upload for your entry (see above) - to be used as a reference to your project for the jurors during the jurying process.
  • One (1) JPG image, using the same criteria as above, for your “Public Display Image”, that will be used when publicizing Design Awards winners and entrants. This file should be labeled with the project title and "Public Display Image" (for example, "Project X - Public Display Image").  This is the ONLY image that may show your firm name and/or logo.
  • Photo Release Form. Required for all categories except Unrealized and Student Design Awards. Each photographer per submission should have their own release. (You can download this form during the submission process.)
  • Client Release Form. Required for the Unrealized project category only. Each project should have their own release. (You can download this form during the submission process.)
  • For Student Design Awards, you'll need to provide the name and contact info of the professor or instructor who is sponsoring your entry. 

After you've compiled all the items listed above, log in to your account and select your entry to proceed to the submission forms. Complete all forms in this section, entering in project information (both concealed and for the jury) and uploading your image files. All line items and upload boxes are required, unless otherwise noted. 

After you have saved and finalized your submission, you will receive an email confirmation that we have received it along with a reminder that if you chose to pay by check we must receive your payment by July 29 to advance your entry to the jury round.

Projects submissions should include a combination of photographic images, renderings, and drawings sufficient to present the project to the jury. Photos may be in color or black & white. At least one interior image is requested with all submissions, unless interiors were not in the scope of the project. Technical drawings such as plans, sections, and elevations may be presented at any scale, but should include a graphic scale and north arrow for reference. While not required, every submission is strongly encouraged to depict the relationship of the project to its site context and any significant synergy generated by the design solution. 

Awards & Publicity 
Awards will be announced and presented at the ASPIRE conference in Asheville, NC on Sunday, September 11, 2022. It is important that all applicants plan to attend the Ceremony, or have a representative from the firm in attendance to accept any awards presented. Finalists will be notified after jury deliberations. Certificates for all award-winning projects will be presented at the awards ceremony. Winners of Design Awards will receive three certificates: one for the architect, one for the owner, and one for the contractor. Winners of Student Design Awards will receive one certificate per student listed in the credits. Additional certificates will be available at the expense of the award recipient.

AIA ASPIRE Design Awards intends to publish all design award entries. Therefore, it is essential that drawings and photographs not be restricted against publication. It is the entrant’s responsibility to clear all drawings and photographs for release. A form will be provided to you to secure the necessary permission. With your online submission, please include a separate JPG file containing one Public Display Image titled with your entry number. This can be a photograph or a collection of images that best represents the project and will be used publicly - online, electronically and/or in print media. 

Winning projects will be featured in AIA National and AIASAR publications of varying media throughout 2022 & 2023


  • All information will be used as entered on the website gallery and for publicationPlease be thorough and consistent in completing your field entries and double-check for spelling errors.
  • No logos or any other information that identifies the architect/firm is to appear anywhere on the project submission form (Short Description, Architect's Statement, project images, etc.). This info should be entered in the Concealed Information documentation only! 
  • Please be sure to confirm the exact wording of firm, owner and/or consultant names and titles.
  • Use "N/A" or other appropriate text in required fields on the submission form if there is no info or it's not pertinent to your project.



Please direct all inquiries to Keri Dixon, AIANC Awards Director, at kdixon@aianc.org.

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