Registration Deadline: April 9, 2025

2025 COTE Competition

AIA COTE® Top Ten for Students


April 9, 2025

Registration Deadline

June 4, 2025

Submission Deadline

Summer 2025

Jury Convenes

Fall 2025

Winners Announced


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.


for the full program
August 2024

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 displayed and recognized during the 2026 AIA National Convention at the COTE reception. Winning projects will also be promoted on the ACSA website at & the AIA COTE® website at

Winning students and their faculty sponsors will receive cash prizes totaling $13,500 with each of the 10 selected winners receiving:


Faculty Sponsor(s)

Top Ten Winners




in cash prizes
Framework for Design Excellence

Ten Measures

The COTE Top Ten for Students Competition seeks compelling design submissions that meaningfully address the future impacts of climate change, imagine and illustrate a healthy, sustainable and equitable future. Emphasis is to be placed on achieving zero emissions, adapting to projected climate impacts, designing for resilience, and addressing social and environmental equity.

Entries will be judged on design innovation and how well the project has addressed measures of the Framework for Design Excellence:

  • > Design for Integration
  • > Design for Equitable Communities
  • > Design for Ecosystems
  • > Design for Water
  • > Design for Economy
  • > Design for Energy
  • > Design for Well-Being
  • > Design for Resources
  • > Design for Change
  • > Design for Discovery

International Student Competition

The competition is open to students from all ACSA Full and Candidate Member Schools, as well as ACSA Affiliate Members Schools including international member schools. Students are required to work under the direction of a faculty sponsor. Submissions will be accepted for individual as well as team projects. Teams must be limited to a maximum of three students.

Students are invited to submit their studio projects. Entries must be buildings, but can be of any program, at any scale, in any location. Projects can be a remodel or adaptive re-use. Work should have been completed in a design studio or related class within the 2024-2025 calendar year.

Image Credits: 2023 COTE Top Ten for Students, Competition Winner
Project Title: Relinquetur Research Center
Student: Gabriel Cachapuz Velasco, Savannah College of Art and Design
Faculty Sponsor: Alice Guess, Savannah College of Art and Design
Collaborator: David Thompson Architect, David Thompson Studio

Competition Organizers & Sponsors

Edwin Hernández-Ventura
Programs Coordinator

Eric W. Ellis
Senior Director of Operations and Programs