Competition Guidelines


March 28, 2012-EXTENDED   Registration Deadline (free registration)
May 30, 2012                              Submission Deadline
July 2012                                     Prize winners chosen by the design jury
Fall 2012                                     Competition Summary Publication

Winning students, their faculty sponsors, and their AIAS Chapter will receive cash prizes totaling $15,550. The design jury will meet in July 2012 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 web site at

Top prizes (first prize to each region and a Vinyl Award) will be awarded, in addition to a selected number of honorable mentions, at the discretion of the jury. A total of $15,550 will be distributed in the following manner:


Regional Awards   East Prize
Student  $2,000
      Faculty Sponsor  $1,000
      AIAS Chapter $100
    South Prize Student $2,000
           Faculty Sponsor        $1,000
      AIAS Chapter  $100
    Midwest Prize     Student $2,000

Faculty Sponsor $1,000
      AIAS Chapter $100
    West Prize Student $2,000
      Faculty Sponsor $1,000
      AIAS Chapter $100


 Vinyl Award                                          Student $1,500
                          Faculty Sponsor        $750
      AIAS Chapter $100

A limited number of honorable mentions may also be awarded at the jury’s discretion. ACSA reserves the right to alter prize categories and designate special awards per discretion of the competition jury. Prize winning submissions will be exhibited at the 2013 ACSA Annual Meeting and at the 2013 AIA National Convention and will be published in a competition summary publication.

Students (from any ACSA member school) and emerging professionals (recently graduated students or interns, within 5 years of graduation) are eligible to participate in the competition. 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 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.

Currently enrolled students will require a faculty sponsor to enroll students by completing an online Registration Form (available at by March 28, 2012-EXTENDED. 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 28, 2012-EXTENDED, 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.

Emerging Professionals
Recently graduated students, interns, or emerging professionals, within 5 years of graduation, are require to contact ACSA directly to receive personal ACSA credentials and complete an online Registration Form by March 28, 2012-EXTENDED. To receive personal ACSA credentials contact Eric Ellis at

The administration of the competition at each institution is left to the discretion of the faculty within the guidelines set forth in this document. Work on the competition should be structured over the course of one semester during the 2011-2012 academic year.

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:

  • A mature awareness and innovative approach to environmental issues including but not limited to comprehensive building material life cycle assessment thinking;
  • An elegant expressive understanding of the materials;
  • A thorough appreciation of human needs, economic impacts and social responsibilities;
  • 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 capability to integrate functional aspects of the problem in an architectural manner, and
  • A capacity to derive a design with the maximum innovation and possibility.

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”;
  • illustrate graphically or otherwise the use of vinyl building materials (required for the Vinyl Award);
  • a design essay or abstract;

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. Submissions that do not adhere to the program criteria outlined must provide a program brief.

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 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. The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must NOT appear on any of the submitted material.

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.

The student is required to submit the final entries that must be uploaded through the ACSA Competition website at by 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, on May 30, 2012. 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. 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. For team projects: each member of team projects may submit the final project.

A final Submission upload must contain the following:

  • Completed online registration 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 or abstract (simple copy/paste text box completed during submission);

Winning projects will be required to submit high-resolution original files/images for use in competition publications and exhibit materials.

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. We build with people in need regardless of race or religion. We welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds. Our houses are simple, decent, and affordable to low-income families around the world. Whenever possible, we build sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy housing.

Administrative Organization
The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The school membership in ACSA has grown from 10 charter members to over 250 schools in several membership categories. These include full membership for all accredited programs in the United States and government-sanctioned schools in Canada, candidate membership for schools seeking accreditation, and affiliate membership for schools for two-year and international programs. Through these schools, over 5,000 architecture faculty are represented. In addition, over 500 supporting members composed of architecture firms, product associations and individuals add to the breadth of interest and support of ACSA goals. ACSA provides a major forum for ideas on the leading edge of architectural thought. Issues that will affect the architectural profession in the future are being examined today in ACSA member schools.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.

The Vinyl Institute (VI), founded in 1982, is a U.S. trade association representing the leading manufacturers of vinyl, vinyl chloride monomer, vinyl additives and modifiers, and vinyl packaging materials. The Vinyl Institute mission is to advocate the responsible manufacture of vinyl resins; life cycle management of vinyl products; and promotion of the value of vinyl to society.

Promotional Partner
The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is an independent, nonprofit, student-run organization dedicated to providing unmatched programs, information, and resources on issues critical to architectural education. The mission of the AIAS is to promote excellence in architectural education, training, and practice; to foster an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines; to enrich communities in a spirit of collaboration; and to organize students and combine their efforts to advance the art and science of architecture.

Program updates, including information on jury members as they are confirmed, may be found on the ACSA web site at

Additional questions on the competition program and submissions should be addressed to:

Eric W. Ellis, Director of Operations and Programs
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
1735 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006
Tel:              202.785.2324

Portions of this competition program are from the Habitat for Humanity’s, U.S. Sustainable Construction Standards and

The Sustainable Home Competition Program (PDF)

The Sustainable Home Competition Poster (PDF)