Design Excellence Awards 2022

To embrace and recognize all projects, teams, and budgets of all scales, we have restructured the awards format. This year, there will be one awards program, called the Design Excellence Awards, and it will encompass the previous Small Project Awards and Design Excellence Awards. These awards will be administered at DESIGNIGHT 2022.

rules and regulations for the design excellence awards.


Design Excellence Award Categories


Enclosed projects where a minimum 50% of the enclosure is new/restored/replaced or civic infrastructure or plans at various scales.

  • Architecture XS (Extra Small) Max 2,500 SF
  • Architecture S (Small); Max 25,000 SF
  • Architecture M (Medium) Max 250,000 SF
  • Architecture L (Large) Max 1,000,000 SF
  • Architecture XL (Extra Large) 1,000,000+ SF

Interior Architecture
Includes projects with an existing enclosure, interior exhibits/installations, with minor exterior replacement/restoration/revision. Projects that are storefront or facade restoration only are also acceptable for this category.

  • Interior Architecture S (Small) Max 2,500 SF
  • Interior Architecture M (Medium) Max 10,000 SF
  • Interior Architecture L (Large) 10,000+ SF

Decarbonization Award
Firms have the option of also submitting their project for the new Decarbonization Award. To be considered for the Decarbonization Award, entrants must already be submitting a project in the Architecture or Interiors categories. No extra fee is required. This award requires additional information and data.

Lerch Bates People's Choice Award

Chicago is a city that prides itself on its extraordinary architecture. As a laboratory for innovation, Chicago’s architects never tire in their quest of creating beautiful and innovative masterpieces; buildings that contribute not just to our iconic skyline, but to the quality of life for its citizens.

This award invites the public to vote for the projects that they believe exemplify the best of what Chicago has to offer.

This project is in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Center.

Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award

Administered by the AIA Chicago Foundation

The Roberta Feldman Architecture for Social Justice Award was established in 2020 to honor excellence in built projects and design programs guided by the conviction that access to high quality architecture is not a privilege, it is a human right.