Union Studio Architecture & Community Design, Nat Rea (photo)

2020 Design Awards

Submitting for the 2020 Design Awards

Start your submission here 


AIA Rhode Island is committed to excellence in architecture and looks forward to celebrating outstanding works of architecture through its annual Design Awards Program. The purpose of the program is to recognize achievements in design by Rhode Island architects and to honor the project teams and the clients who work with them to create and enhance our built environment.

Rhode Island architects may submit entries for projects in Rhode Island or other jurisdictions. A company's location is not required to be in Rhode Island.


Awards will be submitted, judged and bestowed in categories. Each Category will have 3 potential levels of recognition: Honor, Merit, Citation; Unbuilt would have 2 potential levels of recognition: Merit and Citation.

The Jury will have authority to move a submitted project to another category if they deem appropriate.

All built architecture projects will be included in the People's Choice Award Program.

See the list of 2020 Design Awards Categories.


Submissions are to be entered through the OpenWater website platform. Submission package should be in portable document format (PDF), limited to 8 pages at 8-1/2” x 11”. Start your submission here 

Deadlines & Fees

  • Awards entries have two phases: Registration and Submission. Fees are paid at the end of the Registration phase. 
    • Early-Bird registration closes September 30, 2020, 5pm Eastern
    • Registration closes October 30, 2020, 5pm Eastern
    • The deadline for submissions is October 30, 2020 before 5pm Eastern
    • All deadlines are strictly observed
  • Early-Bird Fees:
    • Member - 1st submission $150
    • Member - each additional submission $100
    • Non-Member - 1st submission $200
    • Non-Member - each additional submission $150
    • Student - submission for Object Award $25
  • Regular Fees:
    • Member - 1st submission $200
    • Member - each additional submission $150
    • Non-Member - 1st submission $250
    • Non-Member - each additional submission $200
    • Student - submission for Object Award $50
  • Fees are nonrefundable:

2020 Design Awards Jury

The 2020 Design Awards Jury is being formed by AIA-CT.  

Communicating with the jury from the time of submittal to completion of the jury process by the submitter or anyone acting on their behalf is inappropriate and cause for disqualification.

The Jury is encouraged to consider projects along following criteria – where applicable:

  • Durability — Longevity, Maintenance and future adaptability and flexibility
  • Functionality & Building Performance – Operational, Ease of Use, Safety, Benchmarking
  • Suitability - Response to client program and intended purpose, Circulation, Potential and flexibility, Livability
  • Human Impact - Interaction with human behavior, Interaction with all users and/or society. Are they enriched through contact?
  • Ecological Impact — Environmental and/or ecological compatibility
  • Relationship to context/site
  • Concept and Theory
  • Architectural expression - Language, form, materiality, and aesthetics (symbolism, spatial qualities, movement and experience, identity, sense). Will the design create a sense of enjoyment, satisfaction? 
  • Innovation - Does the design stand out, provide something new to the market or supplement/improve an existing product or service?


The Event

Learn more about the 2020 Annual Meeting and Design Awards Celebration 

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