2023 Design Awards Submission



The AIA Honolulu’s Annual Design Awards is Hawaii’s oldest program of its type—held annually since 1958. Built and unbuilt projects submitted by local AIA members are judged on their merit by a distinguished jury of AIA architects. All project types are eligible for submission by members—from small home renovations to multi-million dollar resorts.

The Annual AIA Honolulu Design Awards Program provides an avenue for AIA Honolulu architects to be recognized by their peers for their effort and dedication to excellence in architectural design. In doing so, AIA Honolulu hopes to raise public consciousness, awareness of design excellence and the special role of AIA architects in the community.

2023 Key Dates for AIA Honolulu Members & Architectural Students

Project Submissions Open:           Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Project Submissions Deadline:    EXTENDED DEADLINE: Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Design Awards Celebration:         Friday, July 28, 5-9pm at Aloha Tower, Sunset Ballroom.

Start Your Online Submission Today

You will create a unique login for your submission account when you enter online.
You can submit one or multiple projects within that same account.
Start today and review/edit until the above mentioned submission deadline.

Submission Fees

  • $300 - AIA & Assoc. AIA Honolulu Members (Built and Unbuilt Projects)
  • $30 - Architectural Students (Individual or Group Projects)

After Friday, April 28, 2023 no refund requests from entrants will be considered.

Design Awards Information & Submission Guidelines

View and print our AIA Honolulu Design Awards Information (PDF) below for detailed information on submission dates, fees, eligibility, submission requirements, project categories, award levels and jury.

NEW! COMMON APP for AIA Framework for Design Excellence

AIA Honolulu is aligned with AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence with the integration of 10 key principles into the award program requirements. The Framework identifies specific metrics to evaluate buildings that illustrate progress toward a zero carbon, equitable, resilient and healthy built environment.

AIA Honolulu’s Design Awards follows AIA’s Design Excellence criteria using the COMMON APP (Excel document).

Submittals (except for Student, Unbuilt and Distinctive Detailed project categories) must complete the COMMON APP to the best of your ability, highlighting project performance through narratives and metrics. Each section of the sheet relates to a principle of the Framework for Design Excellence.

Click here to watch a tutorial on how to complete each section.

Eligibility Requirements


Licensed Architect members of this Chapter may enter all project categories. Associate AIA members of AIA Honolulu may submit in the unbuilt project category only. There is no time limit from when a project was completed to when it may be submitted for an award. There is no limit to the number of submissions by the same architect or firm. Firms whose employees are members of the jury are not eligible for submission in that year.

The following re-entry rules apply to previously submitted projects:

  • Those projects that did not receive any award in a prior year may be resubmitted.
  • Previously awarded projects which have undergone substantial renovation may be resubmitted.
  • Previously awarded unbuilt projects are eligible for re-submittal upon completion.
  • Projects which received past recognition in a non-juried category (such as People’s Choice winner) may be submitted in subsequent years for consideration of a juried award.
  • All other previously awarded juried projects are not eligible for resubmittal.


  • You must be currently registered as a student(s) within an architectural design program in Hawaii or have recently graduated (within 6 months from submission due date) from an architectural program in Hawaii. Qualifying programs include 1) Environmental+Interior Design Program at Chaminade University, 2) Architectural, Engineering and CAD Technologies Program at Honolulu Community College and Hawai'i Community College and 3) Bachelor of Environmental Design or Doctor of Architecture programs at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture.
  • Work must be completed entirely and solely by the student(s), and must have been completed within the past two semesters prior to the entry deadline. EXCEPTION: Work from studios/classes that ended after the 2022 AIA Student Design Awards deadline on July 20, 2022 are eligible.
  • Work must be architectural or three-dimensional in nature. Graphic design projects will not be considered.
  • Group projects are acceptable, recognition must be given to each team member
  • Projects submitted must be an assignment of an academic design program. Projects completed in a professional work or freelance setting are not permitted.
  • Only one project allowed to be submitted per student
  • Doctoral projects or doctoral research are not eligible for submission
  • Undergraduate students must submit undergraduate-level work.
  • Graduate students must submit graduate-level work.
  • Paid UH Community Design Studio projects are not eligible; academic UH Community Design Studio projects are eligible
  • Projects that received a previous AIA Honolulu Student Design Award are not eligible.

Project & Awards Categories

Many award winning projects from this prestigious awards program are now considered architectural landmarks in our islands—appropriate and well-conceived solutions addressing important urban or social concerns.

Project Categories
Each entry shall be submitted, and may receive an award, in one of the following categories:

  1. Commercial/Industrial
  2. Distinctive Detail (choose this project category for consideration of our Distinct Detail Design Awards)
  3. Institutional
  4. Interior Architecture
  5. Residential
  6. Unbuilt

The number of projects awarded in each category and the level of award shall be determined by the jury.

Award Levels


  • Award of Excellence: Requires unanimous vote of the jury that a project excels in all aspects. Reserved for those projects which stand out from all of the meritorious award winners. This highest honor recognizes projects which are deemed to exemplify excellence of architectural design on all levels of analysis, and exemplify the highest standards to which AIA members aspire.
  • Award of Merit: Requires consensus from the jury that a project is deserving for a high quality of work overall. Granted to projects which display a high standard of architectural quality and design.
  • Honorable Mention: Responds to notable achievements in one or more particular project aspects; area(s) that stood out, as agreed through consensus by the jury.


    • Distinctive Detail Award: Created to honor individual building components and design features that on built projects including new project entries and ones that until now may not have been recognized for overall achievement. Can only be awarded to projects submitted in the Distinctive Detail project category, as agreed through consensus by the jury.
    • Community Impact Award: Recognizes projects that are designed to remove barriers and burdens, physical or abstract, empowering and enabling people to gather, connect, live, and function to their highest potential, ultimately bringing a community together. This award is unique in that it relies on the experiences of end users; therefore, it is recommended that the project be at least 12 months old at time of submission. Awarded through consensus by the jury.


  • People's Choice Award: First launched in 2007, the People’s Choice Award provides the public an opportunity to view AIA distinguished entrants and determine an annual winner by popular choice. This award aims to encourage public dialog to help shape Hawaii through design excellence.


    • USGBC Hawaii Sustainability Award: The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Sustainability Award celebrates the best of green building and sustainable market transformation. USGBC is committed to transforming buildings, and believes that every person deserves a better, more sustainable life. The award recognizes projects that integrate design excellence with environmental performance to inspire sustainable, resilient, and inclusive designs. Projects must be registered with the USGBC LEED Program or a nationally recognized third-party green building rating system.
    • Hawaii Energy Award for Excellence in Energy-Efficient Design: The award recognizes design that embodies Hawai‘i Energy’s mission to assist Hawai‘i’s consumers in maximizing energy efficiency as a critical step to getting to our state’s clean energy goals, saving ratepayers on their utility costs, and protecting our islands’ environment. The winning project will have incorporated energy efficiency as a foundational goal which will provide long-term savings and reduced energy use. The architect of record will be eligible for a $1,000 bonus incentive.
    • Hawai‘i Home + Remodeling Editor's Choice Award: In collaboration with Hawaii Home + Remodeling, a leading home improvement and remodeling magazine for Island homeowners, this award celebrates design excellence by selecting a recipient among the many stellar submissions in the residential category.
    • The Mayor's Choice Award: Beginning in 1998, the Mayor’s Choice award aims to validate the importance of good design in shaping our city and local communities. Thanks to the honorable Mayor's Office, City and County of Honolulu, for their continued support.

2023 Professional Design Awards Jury

Professional Jury_Combined

Juror selection is based upon locating impartial individuals who represent high levels of achievement, design quality and professional integrity. Every attempt is made to create a balanced panel that will provide fair judgment to all entries. We are excited to introduce our 2023 jury, who this year consists of five individuals, two of whom are members of an AIA chapter outside of Hawaii. Three jurors are Hawaii residents to ensure that the uniqueness of Hawaii Architecture is recognized and appreciated by non-local jurors.

Introducing our 2023 Esteemed Professional Jurors!

  • Jessica Figenholtz, AIA, LEED AP (AIA Charlotte), Associate Principal, Perkins & Will
  • Louis Fung, AIA (AIA Honolulu), Principal, FAI Architects
  • Hazel Go, AIA (AIA Honolulu), Associate and Project Architect, WCIT Architecture
  • Chris Hong, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP (AIA Honolulu), Principal, Chris Hong Design LLC
  • Michael Lee, RA, NCARB, LEED AP (Seattle), Principal, Bench Dog Architects

2023 Student Design Awards Jury

2023 Design Awards Jury_Students

Introducing our 2023 Esteemed Student Jurors!

  • Katherine MacNeil, AIA, LEED AP (AIA Honolulu), Principal, G70
  • Ken Nukui, AIA, WELL AP, LEED AP (AIA Honolulu), 1st Class Registered Architect (Japan) | Associate Principal, G70
  • Neu-Wa (James) O'Neill, AIA (AIA Honolulu), Project Architect/Manager, Senior Associate, ahl

Entry Policy

Each project must be individually submitted online. Payment processing is done on a per entry basis. You will create a unique login as a user and have the ability to enter multiple submissions within that account. You can go back and review and edit your submission(s) until the deadline. After Monday, May 22, Midnight (HST), no changes can be made to any submissions.

A $100 administrative fee will be charged to all withdrawn projects, where AIA has been notified in advance of the request to withdraw. After Friday, April 28, 2023 no refund requests from entrants will be considered. There will be no refunds for submissions that are LATE, INCOMPLETE, or disqualified per the deadlines/guidelines of this awards program.

Awards Publication

AIA has maintained an excellent partnership with aio Media Group, publisher of Hawaii Business Magazine. This alliance positions our members within a core readership of business and professional leaders as well as potential private clients. All winners will receive the September issue.

Mahalo 2023 AIA Honolulu Design Awards Sponsors

AIA Honolulu

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