AIA COTE Top Ten for Student Competition: Innovation 2030

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AIA COTE Top Ten for Student Competition: Innovation 2030

The American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE), in partnership with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), is pleased to announce the fifth annual AIA COTE Top Ten for Student Competition: Innovation 2030. The competition is open to upper-level students (third year or above, including graduate students).

Students are invited to submit their studio projects. Entries must be buildings, but can be of any program, at any scale, in any location.

The program challenges students, working individually or in teams, to submit projects that use a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems, and technology to provide architectural solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

Who May Eligible:

To eligible, the candidates must be following all the eligibility criteria:

  • The competition is open to students from ACSA Member Schools from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
  • The competition is open to upper-level students (third year or above, including students).

How to Apply & Competition Rules

To participate, the applicants must submit an online application form through the given link:


  • Students are required to work under the direction of a faculty sponsor.
  • Submissions will be accepted for the individual as well as team projects. Teams must be limited to a maximum of three students.
  • Students are invited to submit their studio projects.
  • Entries must be buildings, but can be of any program, at any scale, in any location.
  • Projects can be a remodel or adaptive re-use. Work should have been completed in a design studio or related class from January 2018 – present.
  • The COTE Top Ten for Students Competition seeks compelling design submissions that meaningfully address the future impacts of climate change well into the second half of this century.
  • Emphasis is to be placed on achieving zero emissions, adapting to projected climate impacts, and designing for resilience.
  • Project authorship must remain anonymous. The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty sponsors, must not appear on the boards, abstract/ narrative, program or studio brief.
  • If authorship is revealed on any submission materials the entry will be disqualified.

Submission Requirements:

The ten sustainability measures shall serve to inform the design process and guide the required graphics and written narratives/abstract. Students or student teams must submit the following materials online:

  • Graphics: No more than four (4) digital boards at 20” x 20” (PDF or JPEG files), to include the following:
    • Documentation must adequately convey the project’s relationship to topography and physical context, formal and programmatic organization, circulation patterns, and experiential qualities.
    • All drawings should be labeled; indicate scale and orientation where necessary. At a minimum, include the following:
      • Site or context plan
      • Floorplans
      • Building/site sections
      • Perspective or isometric view (digital rendering or model photograph)
    • Present diagrams or images that best display how the project meets the three design criteria by considering the ten measures of sustainability.
    • Some measures may require a specific graphic or calculation; others are open-ended. Where applicable, provide labels and notes on how calculated metrics are obtained (basis, method, a program used, and assumptions).
  • Abstract/Narrative:
    • (100 words maximum for each sustainability measure for a total of 1,000 words maximum).
    • Project/concept statement (approach/ program/intentions/strategies).
    • The narratives should answer questions posed in the ten measures.
    • The specific questions for each measure are meant to be a guide; each question does not need to be answered.
    • During submission, simply copy/paste this text into the “Abstract” text field.
  • Program Brief:
    • (500 words maximum) Submissions should include a brief description of the building type, gross square footage, project location & climate zone.
    • During submission, simply copy/paste this text into the “Program” text field.
  • All metrics should include a short description of key assumptions used in the analysis and where the numbers came from and reliability.


  • Each of the top 10 winning projects will receive a $500 stipend to attend the AIA National Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada June 6–8, 2019.
  • Winning students (individuals and team members) will be offered a paid summer internship at an architecture firm doing leading work in sustainable design.
  • Students will specify their top choices from participating firms and internships will be assigned by lottery.

Application Deadline:

The registration deadline is December 5, 2018.

Apply Now


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