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Announcing the Design Awards 2018

Submission Information

AIA Santa Barbara is pleased to announce the 2018 Design Awards program, celebrating the very best work of our membership and region. A select jury of architects will bestow awards of Honor, Merit and Honorable Mention to the most exceptional projects in this year’s diverse project categories. Further information is given below and in the accompanying 2018 Design Awards Documents. We look forward to your participation!

The categories for this year’s Design Awards includes, Commercial Buildings & Interiors, New Single Family Residential, Multi-Family Residential, Historic Preservation/ Renovation, Small Projects, Residential, Interior Architecture + Design, and Santa Barbara Architectural Heritage.

The Design Award Guidelines (entry form, schedule, eligibility, judging criteria, categories and photography release form) are currently available below as well as the 2017 Jury’s comments and recommendations on submitting a project.

After your registration and payment are complete, an entry ID number  will be assigned and sent to you via email with instructions on uploading your submission.


Call for Entries: April 23, 2018
Early Bird Registration deadline: July 16, 2018
Final Registration: August 3rd, 2018
Submission Deadline: August 10th, 2018

Jury Convenes: October, 2018
Design Awards Holiday Gala: December 7, 2018


Licensed architects or firms in good standing of AIA Santa Barbara may submit projects within Santa Barbara county or anywhere in the world. Licensed architects or firms in good standing of other AIA chapters, or as licensed architects and firms that are not AIA members may submit projects only within Santa Barbara County. Projects previously awarded by the Santa Barbara AIA design awards program are ineligible.

Entry Fees

 AIA Santa Barbara Members: Early Bird Registration $168 ($150 each additional entry,) $100 for entriespreviously submitted in 2017 or 2016. After July 16, 2018: $185 ($165 each additional entry,) $100 for entries previously submitted in 2016 or 2017.

Non-Members $300 ($275 each additional entry,) $200 for entries previously submitted in 2016 or 2017.

Entry fees are non-refundable 

Judging Criteria

AIA Santa Barbara’s Design Awards reflect the values and aspirations of our region’s design community while focusing on larger, even global issues. We recognize that our members work on a variety of challenges and scales. Submissions should reflect a strong sense of place, history or purpose. We value artfully resolved design, but also celebrate the fact that architecture is much more than just beautiful buildings.

The jury will use the following criteria as a guide in the selection of recognized projects:

Inspiration: Does the project tell a story about innovative architectural design that is relevant and inspiring? Is the design well-resolved? Do the materials presented articulate the ambitions of the design?

Creative Problem-Solving: What unique problems was the project asked to address regarding site, budget, program, materials, collaboration or context? Did it address them successfully? Is the relevance and value of design thinking evident in the submission? Do the presentation materials clearly depict the program, context and / or organizing principles influencing the design?

Environmental Sensitivity: Does the project exhibit serious intent to minimize negative environmental impacts and enhance the natural environment? Are metrics, narratives, diagrams, sketches or other clear evidence provided of both modeled and actual performance?

Social Transformation/Response: How does the project respond to its social and physical context? Is it sensitive to its physical, social and historical context? Does the project improve the community in which it is situated? Does it exemplify a commitment to enhancing livable communities?

All submissions must demonstrate clarity of idea, process and execution through a combination of text, diagrams, drawings, photographs, and other illustrative materials per the submission guidelines. At the jury’s discretion, selected submissions may not necessarily address all of the criteria above and all awards may not necessarily be conferred in all categories and multiple awards may be given in any one category.


Honor, Merit, and Honorable Mentions may be recognized in the following categories:

Commercial Buildings & Interiors: Excellent design in projects of commercial, institutional or industrial uses. This category includes new buildings, substantial remodels, additions and interiors. Submissions must be projects completed afterJanuary 1, 2013.

New Single Family Residential: Excellent design and construction in single family homes. This category includes new buildings and extensiveremodels and, or additions. Submissions must be projects completed after January 1, 2013.

Multi-Family Residential: Excellent design and construction in structures containing two or more dwellings. This category includesMixed-Use buildings containing both residential and non-resdeintial uses. Submissions must be projectscompleted after January 1, 2013.

Historic Preservation /Renovation: Restoration or renovation of designated structures of merit, potential structures of merit and existing structures that are a minimum of fifty years old. Submissions must be projects completed after January 1, 2013.

Santa Barbara Architectural Heritage: Projects in Santa Barbara’s time-honored Hispanic tradition reflecting that unique and established architectural heritage. Submissions must be projects completed after January 1, 2009.

Small Projects: Single Family Residential Additions / Remodels / ADU’sThe Small Projects awards category strives to elevate public awareness of the value of design that architects bring to our built environment regardless of the constraints of size and scope. Projects may include residential additions, remodels and Accessory Dwelling Units if under $150,000 construction budget.Submissions must be fully constructed projects completed after January 1, 2013.

Interior Architecture + Design: Residential Kitchens, Baths, Interiors: Excellent design and construction in residential interior architecture and design. This category includes residential, kitchens, baths and interiors. Submissions must be projects completed after January 1, 2013. 

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