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AIA NWW 2023 Design Awards

The 2023 AIA Northwest Washington Design Awards celebrate the best architectural designs available from the AIA NWW members in Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and San Juan Counties. This year we look forward to recognizing excellence in design for all of the exciting built projects and on-the-board designs in our area.

It is an important night for us to acknowledge the many valuable colleagues, clients, and construction industry professionals who make our work possible. These projects represent the finest standards in sustainability, inclusion, innovation, building performance, and overall integration with client and surrounding community.

The AIA NWW Design Awards encourage excellence in architectural design and planning and provide an avenue through which architects may gain recognition by their peers and the public. The ultimate goal is to raise the standards of architectural design excellence by both the architectural community and the public.

Please join us at the historic Hotel Leo in downtown Bellingham for an evening of community and connection!

Preview all 21 submissions. For an introduction to the 2023 AIA NWW Design Awards jury and jury criteria, read on.



Eric Gu, PhD, Regional Director of WoodWorks

Mass Timber and Embodied Carbon Benefit of Wood

Eric will show us some exciting mass timber projects from around the country and talk about the sustainability side of things.







Cynthia Richardson, AIA Emeritus

Cynthia Richardson, AIA Emeritus, has a BS from WSU and returned to college in her 30’s to earn an MArch from UW. She worked for several Seattle-area firms, was Project Manager for major building projects at the University of Washington and Executive Director of Environmental Works before moving to Anacortes and establishing her own firm, Richardson Architecture. Always active in community service, Cynthia is a past president of AIA Seattle, and served 11 years on the Seattle and Anacortes Planning Commissions as well as 12 years on the Anacortes City Council. Retiring recently after a 40-year architectural career, she is now a successful artist. 



Eric Gu, PhD, Regional Director, WoodWorks

Eric is a licensed Professional Engineer in the States of Oregon and South Carolina, and a LEED Green Associate. He received a master’s from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate from Clemson University. He currently works for WoodWorks, a non-profit organization providing free technical resources for multi-family and commercial wood & mass timber projects. His area of coverage includes Washington, Northern Idaho, and Alaska. Eric brings to the PNW AEC community his vertically integrated experience with mass timber, including manufacturing, product testing, and certification, as well as structural consulting. He is passionate about net-zero carbon built environment and advocates the use of wood in buildings as a sustainable pathway for biogenic caron storage. 


Joe Clark, Founder, Architectural Elements 

Joe Clark is a designer, fabricator, entrepreneur, craftsman, and recognized contributor to some of the region’s most innovative architectural projects. Under Joe’s leadership, Architectural Elements has grown from a garage shop into a multi disciplined organization. Joe’s passion and interests include: art, videography, photography, metal sculpture, architecture and the construction trades. 




$15/General Admission (includes appetizers and one drink ticket for our select offerings)

Additional food/beverages available for purchase from Amendment 21 in Hotel Leo.

Please contact us at nwwadministrator@aiaseattle.org about any remaining tickets that may be available.  

2023 Sponsorships

The 2023 Design Awards will be in-person this year. We have a limited number of sponsorship opportunities available. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please confirm your sponsorship commitment as soon as possible! Your sponsorship helps support your local design community and promotes design and construction excellence.

Frank Lloyd Wright  |  $500

Alvar Aalto  |  $250

Le Corbusier  |  $100

To sponsor this event or for questions about sponsor benefits, please contact Christine Baldwin, cbaldwin@hkpa.com and Lisa Meucci, nwwadministrator@aiaseattle.org. Sponsor payments may be made here.

The AIA NWW Section is a part of AIA Seattle, a 501(c)6 organization. Contributions are not tax deductible as a charitable contribution but may qualify as a business expense. Please consult your tax advisor.

Thank you to our 2023 Design Award Sponsors!

Frank Lloyd Wright Level

AMC Engineers  |  FSi Engineers  |  HKP Architects  |  Pacific Surveying & Engineering, Inc. (PSE)

RMC Architects  |  TFWB Engineers

Alvar Aalto Level

GeoEngineers  |  Martin Knowles Photo/Media  |  Wetherholt and Associates, Inc.  |  Zervas Group

In-Kind: Hotel Leo  |  Lithtex NW

2023 Call for Submissions


Intent to Submit Deadline: Friday, September 1, at 5:00PM. Email: nwwadministrator@aiaseattle.org

Submission Deadline: Friday, September 29 at 5:00PM. Submittal link below.


  • Jury Presentation PDF
  • Team Presentation PDF
  • Publicity Image
  • Application + Payment (online)
  • Submission (link)


The intent of the AIA NWW Design Awards is to encourage excellence in architectural design and planning and to provide an avenue through which architects may gain recognition by their peers and the public. The ultimate goal is to raise the standards of architectural design excellence by both the architectural community and the public.

Each entry will be judged for the success with which the project has met its individual requirements. Entries will be evaluated individually, not in competition with each other. The Jury uses the anonymous written and visual material submitted for their analysis. It is imperative that this information describe the project as clearly and accurately as possible. Jury considerations include design quality, functional utility, economy, environmental harmony, sustainability, accessibility, aesthetic delight, creativity, craftsmanship, and innovation. In addition, attention will be paid to the following:

  • The building’s character: Integration of materials in a cost effective manner; ease of use to best serve the client; ability to draw people in to explore, experience, and feel welcome.
  • Overall integration of the project to its location, how the project relates to the community and its users.
  • How the project specifically solved issues and met the program goals of the client and/or public.
  • Attention to energy/water conservation and application of environmentally-friendly materials and design methods.
  • Life cycle cost and maintainability.
  • Each juror evaluates the entries on their own merit.
  • Additional criteria may be established by the jury at the time of their review.


Submissions should clearly demonstrate process and accomplishment through a combination of text, diagrams, drawings, photographs and other graphic materials, and address the issues outlined in the Jury Criteria, and fall within the following categories:

  • Residential Award
  • Commercial Award
  • Unbuilt Project Award


  • Submissions must be designed by Architect members of AIA NWW, with main offices located in our four county area (Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and/or San Juan).
  • Submissions may be from any year.
  • The size and location of a project will in no way limit its eligibility.
  • Members may separately submit as many projects for consideration as they wish.
  • For projects in which an Architect has joint ventured or associated with a design consultant, the member must be the Architect, or Designer-of-Record.
  • Where responsibility for a project is shared, all participants who substantially contributed to the work must be appropriately credited. Projects must be submitted in the name of the Architect-of-Record.
  • Projects that have won AIA NWW Design Awards in the past are not eligible. All other projects may be resubmitted.


$150 for the first project submitted. $100 for each additional project submitted.

Submissions for 2023 are closed.

Each project shall be submitted separately.


Jurors will review the Jury Presentation PDF on laptops and projection screens—horizontal formats work best for these devices. Submitted materials must conform to the following requirements to be juried. Anonymity is a must—firm names are not to be visible in this file.


  • A single PDF file
  • 20 pages maximum
  • 25 MB maximum file size
  • All materials contained in this file must be anonymous
  • File Naming Format: J-ProjectName.pdf



  • 8 ½” x 11″ landscape, 1″ margins minimum on all sides
  • Black text on white background, 12 pt minimum font, no graphics or imagery

Project Information (This information should be the same as submitted on this PDF)

  • Project Name
  • Project Location: Municipality, State (i.e. Spokane, WA — omit street address and zip code)
  • Project Area

Project Narrative – No more than 500 words:

  • Summarize the project, its physical context, the ideas behind it, the challenges it presented and how they were investigated and resolved.
  • Place emphasis on the elements of design achievement defined in the Judging Criteria. Avoid elaboration of features already made clear by photographs and drawings.
  • Include information about project intentions, including program requirements, cost data, and the distinguishing aspects of their resolution.
  • For preservation/restoration projects provide the jury with sufficient information to differentiate between the original architects’ work and the newly altered, preserved, or restored work.
  • DO NOT identify the architect, designer or firm in any way.



We understand that some projects may have limited interior photography due to social distancing and/or other limitations from COVID-19. Please include supplemental diagrams to further illustrate the project if needed.

  • Pages may include, but are not limited to: diagrams, photographs, site plans, floor plans, sections, evaluations or other illustrative drawings.
  • These pages are meant to graphically represent the project. Please limit labels or annotation to approximately 30 words per page.
  • Indicate the project’s physical context or site character through graphics and/or imagery.
  • Conceptual, sustainable, technical or programmatic diagrams are encouraged.
  • Renovations and additions—clearly delineate the scope of work and consider including graphics and/or images that distinguish between the initial circumstances and the final product and contain other material highlighting the reuse or adaptation of the site or building.


The Team Presentation PDF will be projected at the Design Awards event to celebrate all submitted projects and award winners, and to recognize the design teams.


  • A single PDF file
  • 2 pages maximum
  • 5 MB maximum size
  • File Naming Format: T-ProjectName.pdf



  • 8 ½” x 11″ landscape, 1″ margins minimum on all sides
  • Black text on white background, 12 pt minimum font, no graphics or imagery
  • Include Project name, Project location, and Entrant’s firm name on each page of Team Presentation PDF.

Page 1

  • Project Image: A representative image of the project

Page 2

  • Collaborator Credits: A comprehensive listing of the design team, owner/client (if desired), and project collaborators. Collaborators’ logos may be used.


To be submitted as part of the full on-line entry submittal. This image should showcase each project provided to AIA NWW for publicity purposes. This image must not include any text.


  • Print-quality 300 dpi image of approximately 2400×4000 pixels and either JPG, PNG, or TIFFformat.
  • File Naming Format: P-ProjectName-PhotographerName.jpg (or .png/.tif)

Photo inclusion implies permission from its photographer for use by the AIA NWW for promotional purposes. Correct attribution is the submitter’s sole responsibility.


Questions? Reach out to Lisa Meucci, Program Administrator,  nwwadministrator@aiaseattle.org. 

Banner Image: 2021 AIA NWW Design Award Honor Award Winners


October 26, 2023
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Price
$15 General Admission


AIA Northwest Washington


Hotel Leo
1224 Cornwall Ave
Bellingham, WA 98225 United States
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