Guidelines & Rules

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March 30, 2016 Registration Deadline
May 25, 2016 Submission Deadline 
2016 Winners Announced


Winning students and their faculty sponsors, will receive cash prizes totaling $40,000. The design jury will meet in July of 2016, to select winning projects and honorable mentions. Winners and their faculty sponsors will be notified of the competition results directly. A list of winning projects will be posted on the ACSA website ( The projects will be presented in an exhibition at Parsons School of Design at The New School on the occasion of the opening of a conference on the socio-political and economic issues of the use of timber in urban environments, and this exhibition will travel to select venues.

1st Prize:
Student $10,000 Faculty Sponsor $6,500 
2nd Prize: Student $7,500 Faculty Sponsor $5,000 
3rd Prize: Student $5,000 Faculty Sponsor $3,500



Students from the U.S. and Canada are eligible to participate in the competition. All student entrants are required to work under the direction of a faculty sponsor from an ACSA member school. Entries will be accepted for individual as well as team solutions. Teams must be limited to a maximum of five individuals.



An online registration form must be completed for an entire team or for each individual participant. There is no registration fee to participate in the challenge. Each registered participant will receive a confirmation email that will include information for final online submission. Please add the email address to your address book to ensure that you receive all emails regarding your submission.

The competition is open for currently enrolled students, only, and will require a faculty sponsor from an ACSA member school to enroll students by completing an online registration form (available at by March 30, 2016. Faculty sponsors must complete a form for the entire studio or for each individual student or team of students participating. Each student will receive a confirmation email that will include personal login information for final online submission. Students or teams wishing to enter the challenge on their own must have a faculty sponsor, who should complete the form.

During registration the faculty will have the ability to add students, add teams, assign students to teams, and add additional faculty. Registration is required by March 30, 2016, after which edits and additions can be made until a student starts a final submission, then the registration is not editable. Faculty may assign a “Faculty Representative” to a registered student, who will have access to change, edit, and make additions to the registration.


Faculty Responsibility

The administration of the competition at each institution is left to the discretion of the faculty within the guidelines set forth in this document. Research and design work on the competition should be structured over the course one or more semesters of the 2015-2016 academic year.


Evaluation Criteria

Each faculty sponsor is expected to develop a system to evaluate the students’ work 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:

  • An elegant expressive understanding of the material – Timber 
  • A strength of the argument and the proposal’s ability to support the concept for the design 
  • An articulate mastery of formal concepts and aesthetic values 
  • A mature awareness and innovative approach to environmental issues, including energy consumption.
  • A thorough appreciation of human needs and social responsibilities 
  • A capability to integrate functional aspects of the problem in an architectural manner 
  • A capacity to derive a design, using wood, with the maximum innovation and possibility 

Required Submission Materials 

  • Drawings
    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. All drawings should be presented at a scale appropriate to the design solution and include a graphic scale and north arrow.
    • SITE PLAN showing the surrounding buildings, topography, and circulation patterns 
    • DETAILED RENDERINGS of the building, clearly showing the timber structural system. 
    • VERTICAL SECTION of the whole building/site sufficient to show site context and major program elements 
    • LARGE SCALE DRAWING(S), either orthographic or three dimensional, illustrating the innovative use of timber and associated components, at 1” - 1’-0”. 
    • 3-DIMENSIONAL REPRESENTATION(S), either in the form of an axonometrics, perspectives, and/or model photographs – one of which should illustrate the overall character of the project. At least one of these views must be of a significant interior space, and one view must be of the building shown within the neighborhood context. 
  • 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. This abstract is included in the final online submission, completed by the student(s) in a simple copy/paste text box. 


Digital Presentation Format

Submissions must be designed on no more than four 20” x 30” (portrait format) 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 keep in mind that, due to the large number of entries, preliminary review does not allow for the hanging end-to-end display of presentation boards. Accordingly, participants should not use text or graphics that cross over from board to board. 


Online Project Submission

The entrant is required to submit the final project. It must be uploaded through the ACSA Competition website at by 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, on May 25, 2016. If the submission is from a team, all 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. You may “save” your submission and return to complete. Please note: the submission is not complete until the “complete this submission” button has been pressed.

A final submission upload must contain the following:
  • Completed online registration including all team members and faculty sponsors 
  • Four 20” x 30” (portrait format) boards uploaded individually as a high resolution Portable Document Format (PDF) or image (JPEG) files 
  • A design essay or abstract, 500 words maximum (copy/pasted into the text box during submission) 

Incomplete or undocumented entries will be disqualified. Winning projects will be required to submit high resolution original files/images for use in competition publications and exhibit materials. 

By uploading your files, you agree ACSA has the rights to use your winning submission, images and materials in a summary publication, online and in promotional and exhibition resources. ACSA will contribute authorship of the winning design to you, your team, faculty and affiliation. Additionally, you hereby warrant that the submission is original and that you are the author(s) of the submission.