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The 10th Annual

Honoring The World's Best Buildings & Spaces

The Typology, Plus and Firm Categories

Great architecture is driven as much by concepts and materials as by formal and programmatic decisions, so the A+Architecture Awards categories were created to encompass the many facets of design. The Typology Categories celebrate traditional building types. The Plus Categories recognize the link between social and material considerations and the structures that respond to them. The Firm Categories honor a firm’s larger portfolio of work, with awards for firms of all sizes, specializations and geographies.

The Firm Categories - NEW!

NEW this year! Firm Categories celebrate the breadth of a firm’s achievement by showcasing a portfolio of projects. Firm Type categories honor overall excellence for firms of different sizes and stages of career. Specialization categories honor firms that demonstrate a strong body of work in a specific architectural typology. Firm Location categories honor firms based in different geographic regions.

The Typology Categories

Architects do a lot of things — signage, branding, presentations, conferences —but at the core of our profession, we make buildings and spaces. The Typology Awards honor this core function. To be recognized amongst the best is an incredible achievement worthy of praise — and perhaps a bit of bragging. Entries must be built or conceptualized within the past three years.

The Plus Categories

Architecture touches everyone at multiple scales. At the largest scale, The Plus Awards celebrate how architecture is capable of responding to global issues, shifts in technology and our evolving society — these are the Concept Categories. At the smallest scale, architecture is tactile; nearly everyone in the world touches architecture every day. The Detail Categories celebrate innovative features and material applications. Entries must be built within the last three years.


The Firm Categories

Firm Type

  • Best Small Firm (1 - 10 employees) - NEW!For small-sized architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years and employ 1 to 10 staff as of October 1st, 2021.
  • Best Medium Firm (11 - 49 employees) - NEW!For medium-sized architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years and employ 11 to 49 staff as of October 1st, 2021.
  • Best Large Firm (50+ employees) - NEW!For large-sized architecture and/or design firms practicing excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years and employ 50+ staff as of October 1st, 2021.
  • Best Young Firm - NEW!For emerging architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years and should have been founded no earlier than January 1st, 2011.
  • Best Interior Design Firm - NEW!For interior design and/or architecture firms demonstrating excellence in interior architecture. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects can include interior designs for commercial, residential, cultural, hospitality and other project types.
  • Best Young Interior Design Firm - NEW!For emerging interior design firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years and should have been founded no earlier than January 1st, 2011.
  • Best Landscape Design Firm - NEW!For landscape architecture and/or architecture firms demonstrating excellence in landscape architecture. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects can include, but are not limited to public outdoor spaces, private gardens and landscape master plans.
  • Best Sustainable Firm - NEW!For architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in the field of sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental design. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects can include commercial, residential, cultural, instutional, hospitality, transportation and other project types.

Specialization

  • Best Residential Firm - NEW!For architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in the private and/or multi-unit residential typology. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects within the residential typology built within the last 10 years. Projects can include, but are not limited to, private houses, apartments, and multi-unit residential buildings such as condominiums, student dormitories, and social housing.
  • Best Commercial Firm - NEW!For architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in the commercial typology. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects within the commercial typology built within the last 10 years. Projects can include, but are not limited to, offices and workspaces, retail and shopping centers, restaurants, hotels, stadiums, and mixed-use commercial buildings.
  • Best Cultural Firm - NEW!For architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in the cultural typology. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects within the cultural typology built within the last 10 years. Projects can include, but are not limited to, museums and galleries, theaters, exhibition centers, religious buildings and memorials, and other cultural projects.
  • Best Public Projects Firm - NEW!For architecture and/or design firms demonstrating excellence in the public realm. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects within the inistitutional typology built within the last 10 years. Projects can include, but are not limited to, schools and universities, libraries, civic buildings, transportation centers, landscape projects, and urban and masterplans.

Firm Location

  • Best North America - NEW!For firms based in the United States, Canada and Mexico demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects do not have to reside within the category territory, but the firm's headquarters should be located in North America.
  • Best in Central & South America - NEW!For Central- and South America-based firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects do not have to reside within the category territory, but the firm's headquarters should be located in Central or South America.
  • Best in Europe - NEW!For Europe-based firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects do not have to reside within the category territory, but the firm's headquarters should be located in Europe.
  • Best in Asia - NEW!For Asia-based firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects do not have to reside within the category territory, but the firm's headquarters should be located in Asia.
  • Best in the Middle East & Africa - NEW!For Middle East- and Africa-based firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects do not have to reside within the category territory, but the firm's headquarters should be located in the Middle East or Africa.
  • Best in Australasia - NEW!For Australasia-based firms demonstrating excellence in their field. Eligible firms should submit at least 3 projects built within the last 10 years. Projects do not have to reside within the category territory, but the firm's headquarters should be located in Australasia.

The Typology Categories

Residential

  • ApartmentThis category awards the best overall design and architecture of a built apartment.
  • Private House (XS <1000 sq ft)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built private home smaller than 1,000 square feet.
  • Private House (S 1000 - 2000 sq ft)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built private home sizing between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.
  • Private House (M 2000 - 4000 sq ft)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built private home sizing between 2,000 and 4,000 square feet.
  • Private House (L 4000 - 6000 sq ft)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built private home sizing between 4,000 and 6,000 square feet.
  • Private House (XL >6000 sq ft)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built private home larger than 6,000 square feet.
  • Multi Unit Housing - Low Rise (1-4 Floors)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built multi-unit residential complex 1 to 4 floors tall.
  • Multi Unit Housing - Mid Rise (5-15 Floors)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built multi-unit residential complex 5 to 15 floors tall.
  • Multi Unit Housing - High Rise (16+ Floors)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built multi-unit residential complex taller than 16 floors.
  • Affordable HousingThis category awards the best overall architecture for projects including but not limited to public housing, government housing, social housing, low income housing, and student housing.
  • Residential Interiors (<3000 sq ft)Interior architecture or design of a built residential project that is smaller than 3,000 square feet.
  • Residential Interiors (>3000 sq ft)Interior architecture or design of a built residential project that is larger than 3,000 square feet.
  • Residential Additions - NEW!This category awards the best projects that include an addition or extension to an existing residential building. This may include rear, front or side extensions, annexes, rooftop additions, basement additions or the addition of a separate building, such as a pool pavilion, backyard office, studio or shed.
  • Unbuilt - Private House (S <3000 sq ft)This category awards the best concepts for unbuilt private homes smaller than 3,000 square feet.
  • Unbuilt - Private House (L >3000 sq ft)This category awards the best concepts for unbuilt private homes larger than 3,000 square feet.
  • Unbuilt - Multi-Unit Housing (S <10 Floors)This category awards the best concepts for unbuilt multi-unit housing schemes smaller than 10 floors.
  • Unbuilt - Multi-Unit Housing (L >10 Floors)This category awards the best concepts for unbuilt multi-unit housing schemes taller than 10 floors.

Commercial

  • Coworking SpaceCo-working spaces are spatial solutions within the model of the sharing economy. This category awards innovative built spaces where companies or individual entrepreneurs share quarters with one another.
  • Office Building Low Rise (1-4 Floors)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built office building 1 to 4 stories tall.
  • Office Building Mid Rise (5-15 Floors)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built office building 5 to 15 stories tall.
  • Office Building High Rise (16+ Floors)This category awards the best overall architecture of a built office building taller than 16 floors.
  • Commercial Interiors (<25,000 sq ft.)Interior architecture of a built commercial space smaller than 25,000 square feet, including but not limited to office interiors, lobbies, and other communal spaces.
  • Commercial Interiors (>25,000 sq ft.)Interior architecture of a built commercial space larger than 25,000 square feet, including but not limited to office interiors, lobbies, and other communal spaces.
  • RetailBest overall design and architecture for built spaces dedicated to retail, such as branded stores and flagships.
  • Shopping CenterBest overall design and architecture for built shopping centers and malls.
  • Pop-Ups & TemporaryThe best architecture for a built pop-up or temporary installation.
  • Mixed Use (S <25,000 sq ft.) - NEW!This category awards the best overall architecture for a built architectural complex smaller than 25,000 square feet with multiple and combined functions, including (but not limited to): commercial, residential, coworking, institutional, health and wellness, cultural, hospitality, sports and recreation, transportation and more.
  • Mixed Use (L >25,000 sq ft.) - NEW!This category awards the best overall architecture for a built architectural complex larger than 25,000 square feet with multiple and combined functions, including (but not limited to): commercial, residential, coworking, institutional, health and wellness, cultural, hospitality, sports and recreation, transportation and more.
  • Factories & WarehousesThis category awards the best overall design and architecture of a built complex that acts as a factory or warehouse.
  • ShowroomsBest overall design and architecture for a built commercial showroom.
  • Unbuilt CommercialAny unbuilt architecture with a commercial function, such as an office space, a space for retail, a showroom, a factory and more.

Hospitality

  • Hotels & ResortsBest overall design and architecture for a built hotel or resort.
  • Restaurants (S <1000 sq ft)Best overall design and architecture for a built restaurant or café smaller than 1,000 square feet.
  • Restaurants (L >1000 sq ft)Best overall design and architecture for a built restaurant or café larger than 1,000 square feet.
  • Bars & WineriesThis category awards the best overall architecture for a bar, winery, wine bar, brewery, cocktail lounge, nightclub or other similar establishment.
  • Spa & WellnessThis category awards the best overall architecture dedicated psychological and physical well-being. Entries may include but are not limited to: Spas, wellness retreats, hotel-based amenities, swimming and soaking pools, hair and nail salons, beauty clinics, bath houses, massage parlors, meditation spaces, or other health and wellness facilities.
  • Unbuilt HospitalityAny unbuilt architecture dedicated to the hospitality industry.

Sports & Recreation

  • Stadium & ArenaInnovative architecture of a stadium, or arena, aquatic center, or other sporting facility where audiences can view sporting events.
  • Gyms & Recreation CentersA recreation center can be an indoor track, pool or sports center dedicated to practicing sports and spending leisure time exercising. This category awards the most innovative design and architecture for built recreation centers.
  • Unbuilt Sports & RecreationAny unbuilt architecture dedicated to the sports & recreation industry, including training centers, stadiums, arenas and more.

Cultural

  • Cultural & Expo CentersThis category awards the best overall architecture of an exposition center, cultural center, visitor center, nature center, or other cultural building of a similar function.
  • MuseumBest overall architecture of a freestanding museum or museum complex.
  • Gallery & Exhibition SpacesThis category awards the best overall architecture of a gallery or exhibition space. Projects can be either new builds, renovations or adaptive reuse projects, and be either a permanent or a temporary structure.
  • Hall / TheaterInnovative built architecture of a hall or theater. Stand alone theaters or theaters constructed as part of a larger performing arts complex.
  • PavilionsThis category awards the best overall design and architecture of a built cultural pavilion.
  • Religious Buildings & MemorialsBuilt architecture dedicated to the practice of religion or remembrance.
  • Unbuilt CulturalAny unbuilt architecture with a cultural function, such as museums, galleries, temporary pavilions, religious or memorial complexes and more.

Institutional

  • Hospitals & Healthcare CentersThis category awards the best overall architecture of a hospital, health center, clinic, doctors' office, pediatric and specialty care center, research center, medical school or other healthcare facility.
  • KindergartensInnovative built spaces for kindergarten education.
  • Primary & High SchoolsInnovative built spaces for primary and high school education.
  • Higher Education & Research FacilitiesInnovative built spaces for higher learning and research, such as universities, laboratories and research centers.
  • Educational Interiors - NEW!Any interior architecture for structures dedicated to education, such as kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools, universities, colleges, libraries, training facilities and more. Both new build interiors and renovations of existing buildings are eligible.
  • LibrariesThis category awards innovation in the design and architecture of a built library.
  • Government & Civic BuildingsThis category awards the best overall design and architecture for built insitutional complexes, including but not limited to firehouses, police stations, embassies and consulates, courthouses, and other buildings that act as a seat or meeting place for government activity.
  • Community Centers - NEW!This category awards the best overall architecture of any center with a community focus, including but not limited to: youth centers, centers for minority groups, centers for elderly populations, shelters, community spaces within larger complexes, and more.
  • Unbuilt InstitutionalAny unbuilt architecture dedicated to educational, governmental and other institutional entities.

Landscape & Planning

  • Public Parks & Green SpacesThis category awards the best design for a built public park or other public outdoor space, including golf courses, recreational green spaces, and outdoor public amenties.
  • Private GardenThis category awards the best landscape design for a built home or multi-unit residential property that is privately maintained.
  • Urban and MasterplanAny completed urban or master plan dedicated to the long-term connections between buildings, infrastructure, social and economic conditions, environments, and future development.
  • Unbuilt MasterplanAny unbuilt masterplan for an architectural system.
  • Unbuilt Landscape - NEW!Any unbuilt landscape architecture or design at any scale, including private gardens, public parks, greenways, golf courses, plazas, squares, mazes and more. Both public and private landscape projects are eligible.

Transportation

  • Transportation InfrastructureAny built architecture dedicated to transportation infrastructure, such as parking structures, airports, bus & train stations, ports & marinas and more.
  • Transport InteriorsAny interior architecture for structures dedicated to transportation, such as airports, bus & train stations, ports & marinas, parking structures, parking structures and more.
  • Unbuilt TransportationAny unbuilt architecture dedicated to transportation infrastructure, such as parking structures, airports, bus and train stations, ports and marinas and more.

The Plus Categories

Concepts

  • Architecture +ArtCollaborations with artists and buildings made for specific art installations are just some of the ways that architecture interfaces with the artists and their creations. Submit projects that engage art and the built environment.
  • Architecture +BrandingCreating an innovative retail environment has changed the consumer brand’s perception of the power of architecture. Submit projects that deal with the built environment and branded experiences in innovative ways. Only a project’s relationship to branding will be judged in this category.
  • Architecture +CollaborationArchitecture is an inherently collaborative field, but some projects push this remarkable attribute to new heights. This category is dedicated to projects that were successfully realized in collaboration with others, including associate architects, engineers, consultants, artists and artisans, product manufacturers, clients and more.
  • Architecture +ColorWhile architects are notorious for their monochrome palettes, this category celebrates those who dare to use color within their designs to bring new light to their projects. Submit projects that utilize color in new and innovative ways. Only a project’s relationship to the color scheme will be judged in this category.
  • Architecture +CommunityEmphasizes the critical role of collaboration throughout the design and building process, considering political, social and cultural stakeholders that surround a project. Submit projects where the community is key to the work.
  • Architecture +EngineeringBehind every great piece of architecture is superb engineering. Collaboration between the two fields create buildings that achieve the seemingly impossible. Submit projects that push the boundaries of architecture through engineering.
  • Architecture +Experimental Design - NEW!Projects that incorporate new, experimental or unconventional design concepts, materials or details, and projects that rethink traditional materials in pioneering ways. Eligible projects may also involve innovative manufacturing and construction methods that unlock new ways to build.
  • Architecture +EnvironmentThis category is dedicated to projects designed in response to their enviroment, including architecture in remote places, projects located within sensitive habitats or preservation areas, and resilient design for areas prone to flooding, hurricanes, droughts, forest fires and other disasters.
  • Architecture +Affordable DesignThis category is dedicated to projects built or conceptualized on a low budget, economically efficient architecture, affordable housing, and architecture designed for regions where lowering the cost of design and/or construction is benefiical to its development.
  • Architecture +For GoodThis category celebrates those projects and architects that use their skills and passions to address crises in collaboration with communities and bring vital hope to those in need. Projects in this category may include, but are not limited to: architecture to promote activism and/or social justice refugee structures, temporary housing, rural infrastructure, hospitals, and schools.
  • Architecture +Joy - NEW!As global communities navigate ongoing health and environmental crises, the ability for architecture to spark joy and raise spirits has never been more vital. This category is dedicated to projects that bring joy to their users, whether it be through form, color, program and social impact. Projects of all typologies are eligible.
  • Architecture +LandscapeLandscape and architecture have always been closely intertwined. This category celebrates innovative designs that create natural environments. Projects can include courtyards, rooftop gardens, public and private parks and other outdoor public green spaces.
  • Architecture +LearningArchitecture can be a powerful tool for exchanging knowledge, whether through the environment it provides to a community or with design solutions that facilitate the learning process. Submit projects that respond to changing means of knowledge sharing.
  • Architecture +LightProjects that deploy light in a substantive and innovative manner. Only the use of light and its effects will be considered in judging.
  • Architecture +Drawing - NEW!The creative representation of architecture through drawing is key when communicating complex design ideas. This category celebrates architectural drawings in all their forms. Only the aesthetic and communicative qualities of a project's drawings will be judged in this category.
  • Architecture +Models & RenderingBefore a project is built, countless renderings and models are created to best communicate the concept of the overall project. This category, discounted to encourage young architects and students to enter, celebrates the detailed work and communicative aspect of models and renderings created for particular projects. Only the quality of the renderings or models will be judged in this category.
  • Architecture +Photography & VideoThe architectural photographer is crucial to the representation of a project to an international audience. Thanks to social media and the ease of sharing images, a building no longer exists on a single physical site but is propagated around the globe through photographs and videos. Submit images or videos (or both) that capture a single architectural project.
  • Architecture +PrefabPrefabricated design is not a new concept but has recently seen a resurgence in popularity. This category celebrates projects that are manufactured off-site, in advance, and then shipped and assembled on site.
  • Architecture +Adaptive ReuseProjects that involve the creative transformation of old, derelict, abandoned or outdated architecture for an explicitly use, e.g. The conversion of commercial or industrial buildings to residential use, the renovation of institutional buildings to create new cultural spaces, the adaptation of transport infrastructure to create new parks, etc.
  • Architecture +PreservationPreservation of existing buildings – of all typologies – requires a unique architectural disposition and a specialized skill-set. Submit projects that preserve and enhance the existing built environment.
  • Architecture +RenovationProjects that involve renovating and effectively recycling an outdated building. Project may include those that revitalize existing spaces or structures through thoughtful renovations for similar functions. Only the renovation aspect of the project will be considered in this category.
  • Architecture +Small Projects - NEW!The world is urbanizing, and as a consequence, cities are looking for new models of density. Submit projects of any typology that make the most of a small footprint, demonstrate an efficient use of space and clever detailing, including commercial and residential structures. The judges will be looking for innovation within this area for judging.
  • Architecture +HealthDesigning for health has never been more critical. This category is dedicated to projects designed to improve or preserve the health of its inhabitants. This includes conventional healthcare facilities, but also conceptual designs for cleaner homes, healthier offices and schools, and architecture designed in response to the COVID–19 pandemic.
  • Architecture +SustainabilitySustainability is a concept that acknowledges the need to provide regenerating resources for future generations. In architecture, sustainability is demonstrated by providing design solutions to control the social, economic and environmental footprints of a project. The project’s sustainability performance will be judged in this category.
  • Architecture +New TechnologyInnovative architecture is intrinsicially tied to emerging technology. This category is dedicated to projects realized through BIM, generative design, parametric software and other high tech processes, as well as architecture constructed using new technology, such as 3D printers, additive manufacturing, drones, robots and more.
  • Architecture +Urban TransformationCities across the globe are adapting to greater urban populations by revitalizing abandoned infrastructure, creating new public spaces out of neglected areas and building new ways for the world’s citizens to live more densely within existing urban fabric. Submit projects that contribute to urban development and change. Only the transformative aspect of projects will be eligible for this category.
  • Architecture +WorkspaceThe way we work is changing with the advent of shared work spaces, open offices, live/work setups and much more. Submit projects that take on the concept of ‘new workspace’. Only the project’s innovative design of the workspace will be considered for judging.
  • Architecture +WaterProjects designed with careful consideration given to our evolving relationship with water. This includes but is not limited to projects on flood-prone sites, projects that include flood or stormwater mitigation details, projects related to irrigation, coastal or riverfront projects, projects that incorporate rainwater collection and/or recycling, etc.

Details

  • Architecture +BrickProjects that display a substantive and innovative use of brick. The use of brick and its effects will be considered in judging.
  • Architecture +CeilingsProjects that incorporate innovative or beautiful ceiling design, whether it be through the use of clever detailing, materials, building products or technology.
  • Architecture +ConcreteProjects that display a substantive and innovative use of concrete. The use of concrete and its effects will be considered in judging.
  • Architecture +FaçadesFaçades are both a building’s skin and the visual element most powerful in attracting the eye of the passerbys. This category celebrates projects in which the element of the façade stands out as a central feature of the overall architecture.
  • Architecture +GlassProjects that display a substantive and innovative use of glass. The use of glass and its effects will be considered in judging.
  • Architecture +MetalProjects that display a substantive and innovative use of metal. The use of metal and its effects will be considered in judging.
  • Architecture +StairsThis category celebrates projects in which the element of the staircase stands out as a central feature of the overall architecture.
  • Architecture +StoneProjects that display a substantive and innovative use of stone. The use of stone and its effects will be considered in judging.
  • Architecture +WoodProjects that display a substantive and innovative use of wood. The use of wood and its effects will be considered in judging.