2017 Residential Awards Submittal Guidelines.

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The AIA California Council believes in celebrating the most intimate of structures—the places where we all live and play and feel the most comfortable and secure: the residence.

Each entry is judged on the success with which it has met individual requirements.  All categories are open to both AIA members and nonmembers. Jury decisions will be based solely on the materials submitted.  Criteria includes quality of design; resolution of the program or idea, innovation, thoughtfulness and technique.


Call for Entries: July 24, 2017
Registration Deadline: August 11, 2017 REGISTRATION DEADLINE EXTENDED TO AUGUST 18, 2017
Submission Deadline: September 11, 2017


$250 $430



Affordable Housing – Affordable Housing is a term used to describe dwelling units where federal, state or local subsidies make a project “available” to those with low or moderate incomes.

Condominiums – Condominiums are defined as residences that are individually owned while use of and access to common facilities in the building such as hallways, elevators, and exterior areas are executed under legal rights associated with the individual ownership and controlled by the association of owners who jointly represent ownership of the entire building.

Mobile Residences (including but not limited to Recreational Vehicles, Houseboats & Trailer Homes) – A mobile residence is not fixed at a stationary point, but has the ability to move and transport itself.

Multi-family Residences – Multi-family residences are defined as multiple separate housing units for residential inhabitants contained within one building or several buildings within one complex.

Single-family Residences – Single-family residences are defined as detached homes, meaning the home is a stand-alone structure with its own lot.

Entrants may submit up to two unbuilt projects in any of the above categories.

Unbuilt architectural designs of the specified residential project type are eligible, including purely theoretical projects and unbuilt client-sponsored projects.  Up to two entries of Unbuilt designs are accepted across the five categories of residential dwellings.


  • California projects: All architects and designers practicing within the United States are eligible to submit projects that are located in the State of California.
  • California architects: All architects and designers practicing within California are eligible to submit projects located outside the state.  If a firm has multiple offices, only projects executed by the California offices are eligible.
  • Any architect, designer, or architecture firm falling into one of the above categories may submit any number of eligible entries provided each is submitted separately with separate payments.
  • Projects that have won awards in other AIACC awards programs are ineligible.
  • Any number of projects can be entered regardless of project size, budget, style, or building type and may include remodeling or extended use projects.
  • Work by the firm of a design professional serving as a juror is ineligible.
  • For built projects, construction must have been completed after JANUARY 1, 2009.
  • Residential projects are defined as projects where people live and may include affordable housing, mobile residences, condominiums, single and multi-family residences.


You may design your entry using any software of your choice. Be sure all text (no smaller than 12 point) is legible and images are clear.

Each entry must follow these basic guidelines:

  • Your completed entry should contain two files:  The entry (including the sustainability metrics) saved as a PDF and Concealed ID form saved as a Word Document.
  • Entry PDFs should be in landscape layout and 11 inches wide by 8.5 inches high.
  • Your Abstract ID number must be clearly indicated on the top right of every page.
  • Each entry may not exceed 8MB or 20 pages. Entries exceeding these guidelines will be disqualified. The Concealed ID forms do not count as part of the 20 page maximum.
  • All files must be named with your Abstract ID number.
  • The firm name MUST NOT be mentioned on any of your entry pages; if they are you will be disqualified



What should be on Page 1?

  • Two-sentence summary of the project. (Paint a very concise and sharp picture with words.)
  • One graphic (only one) which is clear and best represents the project.
  • Lastly is basic project information: category, building type, completion date, budget (if available), and location.

Architecture (select one)

Single Family Residential

Multi-Family Residential



PAGES 2 – 3

Project narrative, including sustainability objectives.

PAGES 4 – 5

Performance Data Worksheet: Energy, Water, and Resource Efficient Design Metrics  This form must be completed.


Sustainable design strategies illustrated in an annotated diagram or section

PAGES 7-20

Include supporting images, photos, diagrams, site plans, floor plans, and elevations.


You are required to fill out the Concealed ID Form which include:

Project/Firm Identification

Project Team

Legal Disclaimer

Unpaid Intern Declaration

Photo Release Form

The jury does not view your concealed ID forms until the final recipients have been selected.


The following guidelines apply to all categories.

Project Narrative

This is the basic information provided to the jury about your project, and should not exceed two pages.

  • Describe your project as succinctly as possible. Avoid elaboration of features already made clear by the photographs and drawings. Please include how energy, water, and resource efficiency were integrated into the design.
  • Provide information regarding the projects’ intentions, including program requirements, cost data, and the distinguishing aspects of their resolution. Include the context, program/scope, special challenges/unusual characteristics, and the solution/design of the project.
  • Explain design achievement which demonstrates exemplary skill and creativity in the resolution and integration of formal, functional, and technical requirements. Projects should reflect a strong sense of place, of ecology, of history, and of purpose as an integral part of the demonstrated design excellence.

Image Requirements

  • Photos must be clear; however, do not use high resolution photos that will increase your file size. Use file types that allow compression to keep the file sizes low, such as .jpg or .png images and avoid using .tif files. Suggested image resolution is 125 to 150 DPI.
  • Include both interior and exterior photographs that illustrate the complete project, including relationship to its surroundings.
  • You may include composite images, but numerous composites throughout the entry are discouraged.
  • Site Plans may be drawn at any scale in any medium, but the scale must be indicated clearly.
  • Floor Plans must clearly explain the solution.


Submittal guidelines include “metrics for resource-efficiency and resilience”. This sustainability worksheet directly supports the policy: “Principles for Advocating Energy, Water, and Resource-Efficient Design.”

Each entrant must complete the Performance Data Worksheet.  Entries will not be judged according to length and detail provided, however, we believe this an important exercise in order to best prepare architects for the near future.  Sustainability criteria will not only be the trend, but the necessary metrics and standards for which design award programs are measured.

Residential projects designed with CA 2010 T24, Site EUI (Energy Use Intensity), should include lighting, appliances, and photovoltaics, if possible.  2010 T24 has incorporated this approach in the form of the HERS II rating system, developed by the California Energy Commission. The HERS II rating is the EUI of the proposed design divided by the EUI of Reference Design (2008 T24 compliant). If you project was designed with CA 2010 T24, please include your HERS II score (0 – 100) based on your Title 24 compliance model. (If you do not have actual performance numbers for lighting and appliances, use the default values.) Insert this information on page 4 of your entry.


In addition to the required Performance Data Worksheet, sustainable design strategies must be illustrated in an annotated diagram or section. Two examples are provided below. You may design your illustration in any way that thoroughly explains the project’s sustainable design strategies.


supporting image 1

supporting image 2


You may include up to 14 supporting images, diagrams, site plans, floor plans, and elevations. Use file types that allow compression to keep the file sizes low, such as .jpg or .png images.

You may include composite images, but numerous composites are discouraged.

Site Plans may be drawn at any scale in any medium, but the scale must be indicated clear


File Naming and Preparation

When you create an abstract online you will receive a 6-digit Abstract ID number.

It is important that you name and prepare your files correctly.  This will ensure there are no errors when uploading submittals.  Your entry should be saved as a PDF and Concealed ID forms as a Word Document.

Your files must be named with your entry number as follows: If your entry number is 001001,

Award Entry:                   RA17-001001.PDF

Concealed ID Forms:    RA17-001001-forms.DOC


We will be using the platform Cadmium again this year. Please note: you will need to create a new user account for the 2017 Residential Awards Program. See images below on how to enter:

how to submit

Select JOIN NOW to begin the registration process.

how to submit 2

  1. After you have registered online, you will receive an Order Confirmation email.  In the body of the email you will find an Access Key that will be used for further logins. Also included in this email are specific instructions on how to “How to Upload Your Entry,”.  Make sure to save this email for future reference.
  1. Your entry should be saved as a PDF and Concealed ID forms as a Word Document. Your files must be named with your entry number as follows: If your entry number is 001001:
    Award Entry:                       RA17-001001.PDF
    Concealed ID Forms:                      RA17-001001-forms.DOC


Should you need further information please contact:
Hillary Krek
Program Coordinator
(916) 642-1710

PLEASE NOTE: If any authorship is revealed on any images or project summaries viewed by the jury, the entry will be disqualified.