Excelsior Awards Guidelines (Subject to Change)

Public Architecture

Click here for detailed Submission Requirements

Only New York State funded projects (fully or partially) will be eligible for an award. Projects may be owned by the state, a municipality, a non-profit or a private entity, however all projects must serve the public in order to be eligible. Projects whose only relationship to New York State is tax credits or bonds will not be eligible. All submitted design projects must have been completed since January 1, 2009.

$310/submission (No fee for Professional Awards)

Projects will receive awards. Consultants, clients and agency representatives will be credited for the work. Projects can be submitted by agencies, consultants or clients.

The jury will judge projects on the following criteria:

Firmness: The submission demonstrates design based on sound architectural and engineering principles, including sustainable materials, systems and practices, as well as responsible use of public funds to achieve the maximum public benefit.

Commodity: The submission demonstrates design that is functional and impactful, providing socio-economic benefits to the surrounding community and advancing the owner’s mission.

Delight: The submission demonstrates design that achieves beauty and harmony through respect for the surrounding context, understanding and consideration of human scale, and satisfaction of user needs, both explicit and implicit.

The entrant must specify one category for each submission at the time the project is uploaded. Two additional categories have been added this year.

New Construction
Historic Preservation
New! Landscape Architecture (New Construction or Rehabilitation):
Eligible projects can be funded by private or public sources. They must be either located on New York State property or part of a larger New York state funded projects. Examples may include a playground on a public school campus or a healing garden in a publicly funded hospital complex.
New! Public Art:
Eligible projects can be funded by private or public sources. They must be either located on New York State property or part of a larger New York state funded projects. Examples may include a sculpture/monument in a publicly funded landscape, park, town square or building.

Submission Requirements
All Submissions are digital and should be composed of the following individual files:
> Photo Release Form(s) (PDF)Download Form here.
> Project Information Document (Word Doc)
> Project Narrative –
• What were the sources of public financing?  How much as a percentage of total construction cost comes from public funds?
• Describe the building’s or space’s function.
• Beyond basic function what is the greater social value of the submission?
• How does the submission contribute to the life of the community of which it is a part?
> Site plans, floor plans can be include separately from the 10 images.  No limit to the number of plans included.
> 10 project photos (jpg or tiff format only). One image per photo.

Submission Upload Link
Will be provided in your registration confirmation email along with complete instructions.

Please contact Cara Longobardi, Membership & Outreach Manager at clongobardi@aianys.org.

Professional Awards

Click here for Submission Requirements

The Professional Awards will honor excellence in practice and advocacy of design in NYS public architecture

Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award

The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award recognizes public officials or individuals who, through their efforts, have furthered the public’s awareness and/or appreciation of design excellence in public architecture.  This award is intended to recognize members of the public who made contributions to architecture.

In his numerous political and academic roles, Daniel Patrick Moynihan emphasized social and economic justice. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served as Counselor to the President for Urban Affairs and was noted for his ability to meld academic research to public policies. As chair of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, he expanded awareness of the effects of the environment and public infrastructure on communities.

Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Award 

The Nelson Rockefeller Award recognizes licensed architects employed in the public sector in New York State whose work on projects within their jurisdiction has furthered the cause of design excellence in public architecture.

Nelson Rockefeller devoted a significant portion of his life to public service, most notably serving as the 49th Governor of the State of New York (1959–1973). During his tenure as Governor, he championed a progressive approach to art and architecture, overseeing the expansion of the State University of New York, the building of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza in Albany, and creation of the New York State Council on the Arts.

Henry Hobson Richardson Award

The Henry Hobson Richardson Award recognizes AIA members licensed in NYS and practicing in the private sector who have made a significant contribution to the quality of NYS public architecture and who have established a portfolio of accomplishments to that end.

One of the founding fathers of American architecture, Henry Hobson Richardson designed many significant public buildings in New York State and the United States. His design of the New York State Capital, Albany City Hall and the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane led to the establishment of his signature style, Richardsonian Romanesque, and greatly impacted the landscape of the cities in which they were built. Admired by his peers and lauded by architects since his death, Richardson’s career and body of work exemplify the importance of design excellence in the public sector.

Nominations can be made by all members of the public. Download the nomination form here.

Nomination Requirements:

  • 1 Nomination letter
  • Nominee biography (500 word max) saved as a word document
  • Letters of support (PDF or word doc) (5 max)
  • Photo of nominee – color photo, high resolution, saved as a jpg or tiff
  • Nomination form (download here)All nomination documents must be e-mailed or sent via dropbox to Cara Longobardi, Membership & Outreach Manager at clongobardi@aianys.org  by March 15, 2018.

AIA New York State assumes no liability for submission materials or loss or damage to any part of the submission.  AIA New York State retains the right to reproduce any of the submission materials in its publication, educational programs and websites. By making a submission, the entrant agrees that the information contained in the submission is correct and complete, and that the entrant will hold harmless AIA New York State for any and all damage arising out of the use of the information contained herein.  Any errors or omissions are the complete responsibility of the entrant.

Please contact Cara Longobardi, Membership & Outreach Manager at clongobardi@aianys.org.