Submissions Open for the 2021 Architectural Excellence Design & COTE Awards

The Jefferson School Middle School Building by DIGSAU | 2020 Silver Medal Recipient | Todd Mason, Halkin Mason Photography


Each year, AIA Pennsylvania celebrates the great work that Pennsylvania’s architects are doing to affect positive social, environmental, and economic outcomes for their clients and communities.

The 2021 AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Design & COTE Awards program is accepting submissions now through 11:59 pm Thursday, September 9, 2021.

The AIA Pennsylvania Architectural Excellence Design Awards celebrate the exemplary design achievements of members and the impact of architecture regardless of budget, size, style, or type. Projects selected for COTE honors will have exhibited excellence in the AIA Framework for Design Excellence measures that indicate how buildings perform for the health and wellness of the occupants, communities, and the environment they serve.

Download and review the 2021 Architectural Excellence Design & COTE Awards Call for Submissions before starting your submission(s) for complete details including the submission process and required and optional jury review materials for submission to the Design and COTE Awards programs.


All entries will be featured in the 2021 Architectural Excellence Design & COTE Award Submissions Gallery. Finalists will be tagged in the submissions gallery and featured in the Year in Review & Architectural Excellence Showcase publication.

Recipients will be recognized in the recipients’ gallery housed on, in a nationally distributed press release recapping the awards broadcast highlights, local market press releases, and in the Year in Review & Architectural Excellence Showcase publication.

The 2021 Architectural Excellence Design & COTE Awards will be celebrated during the 2021 Architectural Excellence Awards Broadcast on Thursday, November 18, 2021.

submit now >


In 2021, the jurors are based in New York City and have been confirmed to include:

This year’s COTE Awards jury will be made up of a panel of AIA COTE (Committee on the Environment) peer experts from New York City.


Small Project Category | Project submissions in the small projects category are limited to small firms of nine (9) or fewer full-time or full-time equivalent employees at the time of the project’s completion. Additionally, projects must meet the following criteria:

      • Small project construction up to $1.5 million in construction cost and/or
      • Small project construction, object, work of environmental art or architectural design under 5,000 square feet

Project Binder Page Count Revisions | Flexible minimum and maximum page count for the “Digital Project Binder” uploads give applicants greater ease and the opportunity to repurpose local chapter award submissions with less hassle. The Digital Project Binder (PDF) must include a minimum of nine (9) pages and a maximum of twenty (20) pages (8.5 x 11; landscape orientation) at 25 MB max. Entries in the “Small Project” category are the exception and may include a minimum of (5) pages.

Architectural Plan Requirement | A site plan and floor plan are required separate uploads for 2021. Please mark off the north arrow and provide a key.

Supplemental Photo & Plan Uploads | An optional maximum of five (5) supplemental photos/renderings may be uploaded and a maximum of four (4) supplemental plans may be uploaded. Entrants are encouraged to include these photos/renderings and plans in the required “Digital Project Binder” upload. These supplemental photos/renderings and plans may be included in the winning projects’ features during the awards celebration/broadcast and will be reviewed by jurors.


COTE Awards Opt-In & the Framework for Design Excellence Assessment | The COTE Awards program remains an opt-in program with a separate jury review and assessment. The Framework for Design Excellence Assessment (identical to the 2021 AIA Philadelphia Framework Awards Assessment), is an updated version of last year’s assessment spreadsheet. If you opt to enter your project into the COTE Awards program by completing the assessment, you will also be required to add the completed framework assessment to the “Digital Project Binder” upload. This will give the Design Awards jury the opportunity to review your project in the context of the framework measures. The assessment pages do not count towards the maximum page count.


The 2021 Architectural Excellence Design Awards is made possible by our generous sponsors and partners. Thank you to our preferred partners:

    • Burke, Cromer, Cremonese, situated in downtown Pittsburgh, BCC offers a full range of litigation and business law services including architects, engineers, developers, and real estate owners.
    • Fenner & Esler, provider of insurance and risk management for Architects and Engineers
    • Milber Makris, providing a wide range of legal services tailored to design professionals with offices in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
    • Offit Kurman, construction law experts specializing in solving professional practice and business challenges for architects and engineers. Office locations in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Plymouth Meeting
    • Oldcastle APG, North America’s leading manufacturer of concrete building and hardscape products – from the structural masonry, used in erecting cityscapes and urban centers, to the finishing touches of a backyard oasis.




Langan Engineering


Regionally compete with your peers from AIA New Jersey, AIA New York State, and AIA Pennsylvania to be honored for architectural excellence! The AIA Tri-State Design Awards will be celebrated in conjunction with December’s virtual AIA Tri-State Conference set for December 8 – 10.

The 2021 AIA Tri-State Design Awards program is accepting eligible project submissions through 11:59 pm Thursday, October 7, 2021.

Eligibility is limited to projects entered in this year’s Architectural Excellence Design & COTE awards program(s).

submit now >