Guidelines + Rules

The competition is open to students from ACSA Member Schools from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The competition is open to upper level students (third year or above, including graduate students). 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 from January 2017 – present.

INNOVATION 2030 seeks compelling design submissions that meaningfully address the future impacts of climate change well into the second half of this century. Emphasis is to be placed on achieving zero emissions, adapting to projected climate impacts, and designing for resilience.  

The ten sustainability measures shall serve to inform the design process, and guide the required graphics and written narratives/abstract. Students or student teams must submit the following materials online:

  1. Graphics: No more than four (4) digital boards at 20” x 20” (PDF or JPEG files), to include the following:
  2. Documentation must adequately convey the project’s relationship to topography and physical context, formal and programmatic organization, circulation patterns, and experiential qualities. All drawings should be labeled; indicate scale and orientation where necessary. At minimum, include the following:

    • Site or context plan
    • Floor plans
    • Building / site sections
    • Perspective or isometric view (digital rendering or model photograph)

    Present diagrams or images that best display how the project meets the three design criteria by considering the ten measures of sustainability. Some measures may require a specific graphic or calculation; others are open-ended. Where applicable, provide labels and notes on how calculated metrics are obtained (basis, method, program used, and assumptions).2

  3. Abstract/Narrative: (100 words maximum for each sustainability measure for a total of 1,000 word maximum). Project/concept statement (approach/program/intentions/strategies). The narratives should answer questions posed in the ten measures. The specific questions for each measure are meant to be a guide; each one does not need to be answered. *During submission, simply copy/paste this text into the “Abstract” text field.
  4. Program Brief: (500 words maximum) Faculty sponsor should provide a studio brief describing the learning objectives and instructional approach for the design studio. Students should describe the building type, gross square footage, project location & climate zone. (500 words maximum). *During submission, simply copy/paste this text into the “Program” text field.

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.

Project authorship must remain anonymous. The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must NOT appear on the boards, abstract/narrative, program or studio brief. If authorship is revealed on any submission materials the entry will be disqualified.

All metrics should include a short description of key assumptions used in the analysis and where the numbers came from and reliability.

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 should have been completed in a design studio or related class within the 2017 calendar year. Design work completed before 2017 will not be accepted.

Each faculty sponsor may develop an internal system to evaluate the students’ work using the criteria set forth in this Competition Program and the Curriculum Addendum. 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 four presentation boards and a narrative describing the design solution and approach to the each of the ten sustainability measures.

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.

Project authorship must remain anonymous. The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must NOT appear on the boards, narrative/abstract or project title. If authorship is revealed on any submission materials the entry will be disqualified.

Students are required to upload final submissions through the ACSA Competition website at by 5:00 pm, Eastern Time, on January 17, 2018. 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.

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 that the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and Architecture 2030 have the rights to use your winning submission, images and materials in a summary publication, online and in promotional and exhibition resources. AIA, ACSA, and Architecture 2030 will attribute authorship of the winning design to you, your team, faculty, and institutional affiliation. Additionally, you hereby warrant that the submission is original and that you are the student author(s) of the design submission.


December 6, 2017
Registration Deadline (free) + Submission Site Opens

January 17, 2018       
Submission Deadline

Spring 2018                
Jury Convenes

April 22, 2018             
Winners Announced
Earth Day

June 20, 2018            
Design Futures Council (DFC) round table with jurors and faculty

June 21–23, 2018      
Reception and display at the 2018 AIA Convention in NYC

For questions please contact: 

Eric Wayne Ellis
Allison Smith
Director of Operations and Programs

Programs Manager