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Schools of Tomorrow – Student Design Competition

Sponsored by Kawneer and administered by the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), the program challenges students to learn about building materials, specifically architectural aluminum building products and systems in the design of a modern and creative school for students ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade.

While open to any student, the competition is designed for advanced students.

Total prize money is $7,225, including $2,500 for the first place winning design.


The objectives of this competition are:

  • To research, respond to and highlight the unique aspects of designing an elementary school that serves the selected site and community.
  • To build knowledge about materials, products, and daylighting techniques (primarily using Kawneer architectural aluminum building products and systems) that can help earn LEED® certification points while creating a bright and fun atmosphere for learning.
  • To design a sustainable facility utilizing the USGBC LEED® building standards*.
  • To develop an attractive and pleasing school and surround site for the surrounding community.
  • To design a facility that uses the physical environment too support the learning process.
  • To encourage the use of sustainable and universal design principles for development of both the building and site.

*While AIAS design competitions include specific building products and services like rating and credentialing programs, this should not necessarily be construed as an endorsement by the AIAS.

In addressing the specific issues of the design challenge, submissions will be evaluated on the following:

  • Cleverness and appropriate use of Kawneer architectural aluminum building products that can also help earn LEED® certification points. A 30-35% use of glazing and entrance systems (namely Kawneer products) should be utilized and will be evaluated;
  • Creation of an elementary school that promotes a positive presence within the community;
  • Response to the specific usage of the building;
  • Implementation of sustainable and universal accessibility design principles for development of both building and site;
  • Demonstration of knowledge about materials, products, and installation contributing to a sustainable and stimulating building;
  • Clear and easily comprehensible design;
  • Originality.


  • First Place $2,500 (AIAS Chapter: $500)
  • Second Place $1,500 (AIAS Chapter: $275)
  • Third Place $750 (AIAS Chapter: $200)
  • Honorable Mentions(3): $500 each


  • The competition is open to all students of architecture and design in North America (and members of the AIAS not residing in North America).
  • While the design competition focuses on issues more suitable for advanced students, all architecture and design students worldwide may enter. Additionally, young designers that have graduated within 18 months of the registration deadline may enter.
  • Entries will be accepted for individuals as well as team solutions.
  • Teams should be made up of no more than four students.
  • Submissions should be principally the product of work in a design studio, building materials class, design charrette, or a person’s spare time.

How to enter?

Register and upload your submissions on the official website.

Registrations must be completed no later than 18 October 2010.

A final submission upload must contain the following files in a single (ZIP) folder not exceeding 20 MB:

  • Completed submission information cover page including all team members and faculty sponsors;
  • Each of the four 20″X 20″ boards individually as high resolution Portable Document Format (PDF) files, or as 150 DPI Image (JPEG, TIFF or GIF) files;
  • A copy of the design essay as a high resolution Portable Document Format (PDF) file or Document (DOC) file.

Entry fee

There is no entry or submission fee required to participate in the competition for AIAS members. There is a $10 submission fee for non-members.