2021 Honor Awards

Reconnect and broaden conversations about resilience in design.

AIA Seattle’s Honor Awards for Washington Architecture is a nationally-recognized program that explores and honors projects designed by architects throughout the state of Washington. This annual program provides an important opportunity for the design community to share and celebrate its achievements both among practitioners and with the community at-large. Awarded projects are revealed for the first time at the live event.

Click here for online gallery


This year’s program on November 8 will return to in-person celebrations of our greater design community, recognizing both project teams and — for the first time — individual awardees. The program consists of two distinct events, connected by the themes of recognition and celebration, both hosted on November 8 at Town Hall Seattle.

Individual Awardees Celebration | Town Hall Seattle’s Forum

  • 4:30pm – Doors Open for Individual Awardees Celebration (Forum Entrance off Seneca St)
    • Bar opens (21+)
  • 5:15pm – Individual Awardees Celebration Begins 
  • 6:30pm – Program Ends
    • Those also attending the Honor Awards Live Event will make their way to the lobby

Click here for more info

Honor Awards Live Event | Town Hall Seattle’s Great Hall

  • 5:30pm – Lobby Opens for Honor Awards (Lobby Entrance off 8th Avenue)
  • 6:15pm – Live Pianist Performance by Jovino Santos Neto Begins in the Great Hall
  • 7:00pm – Honor Awards Program Begins
    • Livestreaming of the Honor Awards Program begins for remote ticket-holders
  • 9:00pm – Program Ends

Click here for more info


Jury Deliberations will take place virtually this year. Each juror individually reviews all projects submitted before group deliberations. Over the course of two days (this year online), the jury will agree on criteria and selections for award recognition. Awards are the final determination of the jury.


Katherine Darnstadt AIA, NOMA, LEED AP | Latent Design | Chicago

Katherine Darnstadt is the founder of Latent Design, a progressive architecture and urbanism firm leveraging civic innovation and social impact to design more equitable spaces and systems. Since founding her practice in 2010, Katherine and her firm have prototyped new urban design systems to advance urban agriculture, support small business, created spaces for youth makers, advanced building innovation, and created public space frameworks. She and the firm have been published, exhibited and featured widely, most notably at the International Venice Architecture Biennial, Architizer A+ Awards, Chicago Ideas Week, NPR, American Institute of Architects Young Architects Honor Award winner and Crain’s Chicago 40 Under 40. She currently teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and previously at Northwestern University.

Sharon Johnston FAIA | Johnston Marklee | Los Angeles

Sharon Johnston, FAIA, is founding partner of Los Angeles-based firm Johnston Marklee and Professor in Practice at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since its establishment in 1998, Johnston Marklee has been recognized internationally with over 50 major awards. Projects by Johnston Marklee span thirteen countries and are diverse in scale and type. Recent projects include the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston; a renovation of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the new Dropbox global headquarters in San Francisco; and the new UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios in Culver City. Publications on the work of the firm include House Is a House Is a House Is a House Is a House (Birkhauser, 2016); 2G N. 67 and El Croquis N. 198. In 2019, Sharon was named Architectural Record’s Women in Architecture: New Generation Leader. Together with partner Mark Lee, Sharon was Co-Artistic Director of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Helena Zambrano AIA, CPHC | Mahlum | Portland

Helena is a licensed architect in the United States and Mexico with over 10 years of national and international experience. She is a Project Architect at Mahlum with a passion for environmental systems, and a strong advocate for the use of evidence to inform design. Emphasizing the design of daylit spaces, Helena’s work has been recognized with local, national, and international design awards. Prior to joining Mahlum, Helena was Sustainability Director at Overland Partners in San Antonio, TX.  She currently serves on the AIA’s National Committee on the Environment, in which capacity she worked to establish the Framework for Design Excellence and led the development of both the “COTE Super Spreadsheet” and the ‘“AIA Common App”, two tools that raise the status of sustainability metrics and reframe the way design awards recognize architecture.


Every year, jurors praise submissions that reveal the story behind the marketing images. What concepts and considerations drove the design? How did the design team creatively address the project parameters? What is the project’s benefit or impact? Ultimately, what makes this an award-winning project? We encourage submitters to use the project narrative, captions, and the inclusion of process work as opportunities to graphically tell a design story. 

In addition to the jury’s own criteria, the AIA Seattle community has identified four considerations for the submission review process:

  • Inspiration | How does the project manifest its stated intent–in form and function–revealing innovation in both thought and practice?
  • Problem-solving | How does the project creatively address challenges inherent in its site, budget, program, materials, collaboration, and context? What are the organizing principles informing design?
  • Environmental Sensitivity | How does the project exhibit serious intent to minimize negative environmental impact and enhance its relationship to the environment?
  • Social Impact | How does the project enhance the community in which it is situated? How does it help promote a vibrant and equitable community?

Additionally, the Common App offers BUILT project submitters Ten Measures for Design Excellence to consider as you tell your project story. 


Initiated in 2018, the Young Voices Selection (YVS) program aims to elevate and engage the voices of young designers through direct participation and representation in AIA Seattle’s Honor Awards for Washington Architecture. Three young designers, nominated by firm leaders within AIA Seattle’s Firm Network and selected by the Honor Awards Committee, will be given the opportunity to review, deliberate, and select ONE Built project submission. This chosen project, the “Young Voices Selection,” will be recognized at the Live Event in November and selected by this year’s Young Voices…


Questions about attending the Live Event? Contact AIA Seattle Programs Coordinator, Andrea Aguilera

Questions about the Live Event? Contact AIA Seattle Programs Manger, Zoe Guckenheimer.

Sponsorship Questions? Contact AIA Seattle Associate Director, Growth & Operations, Kristen Lound.



Alaska AirlinesBetterBricks | Dovetail | Hoffman Construction CompanySellen ConstructionUSI Insurance ServicesAHBL  | Berger Partnership | Cary Kopczynski & Company, Inc. | Atlas Supply / Dowsil | Eakman ConstructionFSi EngineersGLY Construction, Inc.Hargis Engineers, Inc. | Inform Interiors | KPFF Consulting Engineers | Lane PowellMagnusson Klemencic AssociatesMalsam Tsang Structural EngineeringMicrosol Resources Corp. | PCL Construction Services, Inc.PCS Structural Solutions | Quantum Consulting Engineers | | RJM Precision Instruments |SchuchartSkanskaSwenson Say Fagét | Thomas Fragnoli ConstructionThornton Tomasetti | GRAY

Seattle Design Festival

Seattle Design Festival

Seattle Design Festival connects designers, community members and civic leaders to explore the ways design improves our city and our lives - and will be August 17-22, 2024 Read more