2021 AIA|DC Washingtonian Residential Design Awards - Call for Entries

  • Date

    Monday, June 07 2021

  • Time

    6:00pm - 6:00pm

  • Location

    Online Submission

Projects must be registered and submitted online no later than 6:00PM on Monday, June 7, 2021. Binders, disks or other forms of entry will not be accepted. We strongly advise you to upload your submission a day or so before the deadline, as upload times will likely be much quicker. If you experience difficulties or miss the deadline and require assistance the next day, a late fee of $95 will be assessed at that time. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO UPLOAD YOUR SUBMISSION(S) EARLY.


To encourage excellence in local residential architecture, the WASHINGTONIAN magazine and the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC) announce the annual Washingtonian Residential Design Awards Program. Distinctive residential projects, regardless of size or classification, will be recognized on the basis of excellence in total design, including aesthetics, programmatic response and sustainability. Public attention and acclaim will be focused on the winning submissions through coverage in the WASHINGTONIAN and in ArchitectureDC.  


The program is open to all registered architects. Projects must be executed residential works of architecture completed after January 1, 2016, and must be located within the Washington DC Standard Metropolitan Area (SMA) as defined below:

  • The District of Columbia
  • Maryland: Montgomery, Prince George’s, Frederick, Calvert, and Charles counties
  • Virginia: Arlington, Clark, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, Stafford, Spotsylvania, Warren and Loudon counties; the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Manassas, and Manassas Park
  • West Virginia: Jefferson County

Projects outside the SMA also are eligible if they are second homes for owners whose primary residence is within the Washington, DC SMA.

Entries may be new construction, remodelings, additions, or adaptive use projects by nature. They may be single family, multifamily, mixed- use. The mixed-use projects are eligible if a minor portion of the work is nonresidential. Mixed-use projects will be judged primarily on their residential quality. Specialized housing, such as for seniors, dormitories and emergency shelter after natural disasters, are also eligible.  Accommodation for universal design will also be considered.  Projects that qualify for this program are eligible even if they have been submitted to or have won awards in other programs.


Submissions are considered in 5 distinct categories:

  • General Category: “Award for Distinctive Residential Architecture” for most projects
  • Small Projects:  For Distinctive Residential projects with budgets less than $300,000
  • Kitchen/Bath:  For exceptional projects limited to kitchens or baths
  • Details:  for exceptional details
  • Multifamily Housing:  As defined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), means a project which consists of not less than five (5) dwelling units on one (1) site, each such unit providing complete living facilities including provisions for cooking, eating, and sanitation within the unit and which is not now covered by a mortgage insured or held by the Secretary.

Projects may be submitted in one category only.

Projects will be considered on their own merits regardless of size, cost, or scope as well as on a sound comparative basis. The jury’s decisions will be final.


At its October 2019 meeting, the AIA|DC Board of Directors formally adopted the AIA Framework for Design Excellence as criteria for AIA|DC Awards Programs. Questions concerning each of these 10 measures are included in the online submission.  

The purpose of Framework is to highlight climate action as a critically urgent topic for society, and the role architects play as influences for impactful change. The Framework will help facilitate conversations with clients and the communities we serve, and set meaningful goals and targeted outcomes.  As required by the Board, the jury will be instructed to give great weight to information provided for these measures. 

The Framework includes ten measures which are grouped into three categories for ease of explanation and use by the jury. Please answer the questions to the best of your ability for each project you submit.  Each question allows for a 150-word narrative that explains how specific measures apply to your project.  If a question is not applicable to your project, please enter NA. The questions are:

Design Narrative: How does this project address Design for Integration, Wellbeing, and Discovery?

  • Integration: What is the big idea behind this project and how did sustainability inform the design concept?
  • Wellness: How does the design promote the health of the occupants?
  • Discovery: What lessons for better design have been learned through the process of project design, construction, and occupancy, and how have these been incorporated in subsequent projects?

Community Engagement: How does this project address Design for Equitable Communities and Economy?

  • Equitable Communities: What is the project's greater reach? How could this project contribute to creating a diverse, accessible, walkable, just, human-scaled community?
  • Economy: How does the project efficiently meet the program and design challenges and provide “more with less”?

Sustainability and Resilience: How does this project address Design for Ecosystems, Water, Energy, Resources, and Change?

  • Ecology: In what ways does the design respond to the ecology of its place?
  • Water: How does the project relate to the regional watershed?
  • Energy: Is the project energy-efficient and sustainable while improving building performance, function, comfort, and enjoyment?
  • Resources: How did the design team optimize the amount and makeup of material used on the project?
  • Change: Is the building resilient, and able to easily accommodate other uses in 50-100 years?


The jury shall be composed of three persons in the fields of design and architecture, and each shall be well qualified in his/her own right. The jury shall be selected and approved by the AIA|DC Executive Committee. The composition of each jury is at the Chapter’s discretion and shall not be subject to review. The jury shall have the sole authority to determine whether and how many awards shall be awarded. 

We're pleased to announce our 2021 jurors below:

  • Julie Hacker, FAIA
  • Lisa Gray, FAIA
  • Paulett Taggart, FAIA


The judging shall take place in Washington, DC, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Most of the winning projects will be featured in an issue of Washingtonian with a short article and photographs of the projects. Certificates will be presented to the winners. All winners will also appear in the an issue of ArchitectureDC  Magazine and be part of an exhibit in the SIGAL and/or Suman Sorg Galleries of the District Architecture Center. 


The submitting architect shall clear all photographs and drawings for unrestricted release and reproduction in connection with publicity and publication related to the awards program. By submitting the project, the submitting architect represents and warrants that such releases have been obtained. All images and descriptive materials submitted must not be restricted against publication or any other form of publicity. While the name of the photographer will be mentioned anywhere the photo is shown, issued or displayed, the submitting architect is responsible for any royalties, copyrights or photography fees.


The submitting architect must be a member of the design team for the project, though not necessarily the head of the team. When one architect is not the sole author, all other participants substantially contributing to the design of the project must be given credit as part of the submission and be notified and agree to the presentation prior to the submission, regardless of professional discipline. It is incumbent upon the submitting architect to provide a complete list of all participants substantially contributing to the design of a project. By submitting a project for consideration, the submitting architecture presents and warrants to AIA|DC that he or she has provided a complete list. Failure to provide a complete list may result in disqualification and/or a referral of the matter to the appropriate ethics body of the national office of the AIA. AIA|DC accepts no responsibility for incomplete lists. Interested persons are referred to AIA|DC’s “Awards Credits Policies,” copies of which may be obtained by contacting AIA|DC.


Projects must be registered and submitted online no later than 6:00PM on June 7, 2021. Binders, disks or other forms of entry will not be accepted. 

If you experience difficulties or miss the deadline and require assistance the next day, a late fee of $95 will be assessed at that time. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO UPLOAD YOUR SUBMISSION(S) EARLY.



AIA|DC members

Other AIA members

Non- members





Multifamily Housing




Small Projects













The submission process is entirely online.  You will be asked many required questions about people on the team, the photographer, the completion date etc.  Following those questions you will have the opportunity to upload an image file. The file must be a PDF of 6MB or less. Files may incorporate multiple pages. Pages may include photographs, drawings, sketches and/or text.

Names, logos or other identifying marks that identify the design team in other areas of the images or project name/description may be cause for disqualification. 


Please contact Katie Spencer at kspencer@aiadc.com or 202-347-9403.

Submit Now