Guidelines & Rules



Summer 2015          Competition Announced
Fall 2015                  Registration Begins (there is no fee for registration)    
March 30, 2016        Registration Deadline
May 11, 2016           Submission Deadline
July 2016                 Prize winners chosen by the design jury
Summer 2016          Announcement of competition winners


The design jury will convene in July 2016 to select winning projects and honorable mentions. Winning students, their faculty sponsors, and schools will receive cash prizes totaling $10,000, with distribution as follows:
First Prize
Second Prize
Third Prize
Student/Team  $3,500
Student/Team  $2,250
Student/Team   $1,500
Faculty Sponsor  $1,500 
Faculty Sponsor  $750  
Faculty Sponsor  $500

Prizewinning submissions will be exhibited at the 2017 ACSA Annual Meeting and the 2017 AIA National Convention. A limited number of honorable mentions may also be awarded at the jury’s discretion. Winners and their faculty sponsors will be notified of the competition results directly. A list of winning projects will be posted on the ACSA web site at


The competition is open to upper level students (third year or above, including graduate students) from all ACSA member schools (full, candidate, domestic and international programs). All student entrants are required to work under the direction of a faculty sponsor. Entries will be accepted for individual as well as team solutions. Teams must be limited to a maximum of five students. Submissions should be principally the product of work in a design studio or related class.


Faculty who wish to enroll students must complete an online Registration Form (available at by March 30, 2016. Complete a form for each individual student or team of students participating. Students or teams wishing to enter the competition on their own must have a faculty sponsor, who should complete the form. There is no entry or submission fee required to participate in the competition. Each registered student and faculty sponsor will receive a confirmation email that will include information on how to upload your final submission online.

Faculty Responsibility

The administration of the competition at each institution is left to the discretion of the faculty sponsor(s) within the guidelines set forth in this document. Work on the competition should be structured over the course of one semester during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Evaluation Criteria

Each faculty sponsor is expected to develop a system to evaluate the work of the students using the criteria set forth in this program. The evaluation process should be an integral part of the design process, encouraging students to scrutinize their work in a manner similar to that of the jury. The final result of the design process will be a submission of up to four presentation boards describing the design solution. In addressing the specific issues of the design challenge, submissions must clearly demonstrate the design solution’s response to the following requirements:

  • Clearly express a concept for the architectonic transformation of the site.
  • Enhance the historic significance of the existing property and landscapes.
  • Demonstrate an articulate mastery of formal concepts and aesthetic values.
  • Solve the functional requirements of the problem in an architectural manner.
  • Create new ways to experience the site in light of human needs and social responsibilities.
  • Integrate new “green” technology into the existing buildings in an aesthetically responsible way, and exhibit a mature awareness of environmental issues.

Submission Requirements

Each presentation must directly address the criteria outlined in the Design Challenge and Criteria for Judging and must include (but are not limited to) the following required drawings: site plan showing the surrounding buildings, topography, and circulation patterns; floor plans; elevations and building sections sufficient to show site context and major program elements; large-scale drawing(s), either orthographic or three-dimensional; a three-dimensional representation in the form of either an axonometric, perspective, or model photographs, one of which should illustrate the character of the project.

Submission must include:

  • 4 digital boards at 20” x 20”
    Submissions must be designed on no more than four 20” x 20” digital boards.

    The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must NOT appear on the boards. All boards are required to be uploaded through the ACSA website in Portable Document Format (PDF) or Image (JPEG) Files. Participants should not use text or graphics that cross over from board to board. Incomplete or undocumented entries will be disqualified. All drawings should be presented at a scale appropriate to the design solution and include a graphic scale and north arrow.
  • A Design Essay/Abstract
    A brief essay, 500 words maximum, (in English) is required as part of the submission describing the most important concepts of the design project. Keep in mind that the presentation should graphically convey the design solution and context as much as possible, and not rely on the design essay to convey a basic understanding of the project. The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must NOT appear in the design essay.

Online Project Submission

Entries must be uploaded through the ACSA Competition website at by 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, on May 11, 2016. If the Submission is from a team of students all student team members will have the ability to upload the digital files. Once the final submit button is pressed no additional edits, uploads, or changes can be made. Once the final Submission is uploaded and submitted each student will receive a confirmation email notification.

A final submission must contain the following:

  • Completed online submission information including all Team Members and Faculty Sponsors;
  • Each of the four 20”x20” boards uploaded individually as a high resolution Portable Document Format (PDF) or Image (JPEG) Files;
  • A Design Essay/Abstract.
The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must NOT appear on any of the submitted material. Winning projects will be required to submit original files/images for use in competition publications and exhibit materials.