Submission Deadline: June 7, 2023

2023 COTE Competition

AIA COTE® Top Ten for Students


April 5, 2023

Registration Deadline

June 7, 2023

Submission Deadline

Summer 2023

Jury Convenes

Fall 2023

Winners Announced


International Student Competition

Architects play a crucial role in addressing both the causes and effects of climate change through the design of the built environment. Innovative design thinking is key to producing architecture that meets human needs for both function and delight, adapts to climate change projections, continues to support the health and well-being of inhabitants despite natural and human-caused disasters, and minimizes contributions to further climate change through greenhouse gas emissions. Preparing today’s architecture students to envision and create a climate adaptive, resilient, and carbon-neutral future must be an essential component and driving force for design discourse.

Given their long lifespan, new buildings must be designed to address solutions to climate change and to respond to its projected impacts, well into the second half of the 21st Century and beyond. As with the COTE Top Ten award for built work by design professionals, COTE Top Ten for Students allows designs to be characterized in terms of 10 measures ranging from Community to Water to Wellness.

About the Competition

The AIA COTE® Top Ten for Students Competition is sponsored by The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE®), in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). Each year, the competition recognizes ten exceptional student design studio projects that integrate health, sustainability, and equity, evaluated following the same categories of the AIA COTE® Top Ten Award for built work, and the AIA Framework for Design Excellence (now adopted as the basis of professional practice and awards across the AIA).

COTE Knowledge Community Members are available as competition studio mentors by request. Contact Us.

Awards + Recognition

Ten projects will be chosen for recognition at the discretion of the jury. Winners and their faculty sponsors will be notified of the competition results directly. Winning projects will be announced and displayed at the 2023 AIA National Convention. Winning projects will also be promoted on the ACSA website at & the AIA COTE® website at

Winning projects will be recognized during the 2023 AIA National Convention at the COTE reception. Winning students and their faculty sponsors will receive cash prizes totaling $13,500 with each of the 10 selected winners receiving:



Faculty Sponsor(s)



in cash prizes
Criteria for Judging

Successful responses should demonstrate design moving towards carbon-neutral operation through a creative and innovative integration of design strategies such as daylighting, passive heating and cooling, materials, water, energy generation, and other sustainable systems, through a cohesive and beautiful architectural understanding. Issues to consider include community enhancement, land use and effect on site ecology, bioclimatic design, energy and water use, impact on health and wellness, approach to environmental quality, materials and construction, adaptation, long-life considerations, and feedback loops. Entries will also be judged for the success and innovation that the project has met the ten measures of the Framework for Design Excellence.


Rahman Azari
Pennsylvania State University

Nithyashree Balachandar Iyer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Jill Kurtz

Sarah Mathews

Julie Ju-Youn Kim
Georgia Institute of Technology

Image Credits: 2022 COTE Top Ten for Students, Competition Winner | Project Title: The Connected Farm | Students: Gauge Bethea & Jesse Blevins, Clemson University | Faculty Sponsors: Ulrike Heine, David Franco, George Schafer, & Andreea Mihalache, Clemson University

Competition Organizers & Sponsors

Edwin Hernández
Programs Coordinator

Eric W. Ellis
Senior Director of Operations and Programs