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The 2011 YAF/COD Ideas Competition

The AIA Young Architects Forum (YAF) and the AIA Committee on Design (COD) invites architects, students, and allied design professionals to submit sketches to the international 2011 YAF/COD Ideas Competition.

In this unique sketch competition, submitters are asked to explore the principles of Universal Design as well as their overlap with values of social and environmental sustainability.

Winners will be announced and will have their work exhibited at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, 12-14 May 2011. Selected entries will be displayed on the AIA website.


Over the past decade, the planning and operation of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been fundamentally re-defined, guided by an emphasis on inclusion, as well as social and environmental sustainability.

In 2009, the City of Tokyo, Japan was one of several cities selected as a finalist to become the Host City for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games. The International Olympic and Paralympic committees ultimately awarded the Games to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but Tokyo again is in the process of compiling a bid for the 2020 Games.

Inspired by the recent trajectory of thought and action demonstrated by the IOC and IPC, the American Institute of Architects invites designers to participate in a design competition intended to build upon the efforts of the past decade by proposing a vision for Tokyo’s bid for the 2020 Games that is guided not only by socially- and environmentally-sustainable principles, but also by the principles of Universal Design.

Universal Design has been defined as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” This definition was developed by Ron Mace, FAIA, an architect and the founder of the Center for Universal Design at N.C. State University. In recent years, architects and designers in the US and abroad have come to recognize significant and growing overlaps between Universal Design principles and emerging values of social and environmental sustainability.

This year’s design problem, to create a master plan for the Olympic Village and a design for a representative mixed-use building that includes athlete housing, will provide entrants with the opportunity to explore these overlaps. Successful solutions will demonstrate a commitment to Universal Design, as well as social and environmental sustainability, throughout the Village during its Olympic, Paralympic, and Legacy modes by creating designs that will allow the Village to play a vital role in the ongoing development of the City of Tokyo-not only for the short-term as athletes’ housing during the Games, but also for the long-term as a catalyst for infrastructural revitalization once the Games have closed.

Submissions will be reviewed and finalists will be selected based on these criteria:

  1. Compliance with all submission requirements.
  2. Adherence to Universal Design Principles.
  3. Aesthetic merit.
  4. Fulfillment of program requirements.
  5. Use of sustainable building materials, practices, strategies and technologies.
  6. Constructability and suitability of design for intended use.


Recipients will be announced at the National Associates Committee (NAC)/Young Architects Forum (YAF) Reception on Thursday, 12 May 2011, at the AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition in New Orleans and have their entry boards printed full scale for the Competition display.

  • First Prize:
    • $2,500
    • Complimentary registration to the 13-19 November 2011 Fall COD & AIA Japan NWPR Design Conference held in Tokyo, Japan
    • Coach airfare from any U.S. city to Tokyo, Japan (up to $1,200)
    • Hotel accommodations for three nights to the 13-19 November 2011 Fall COD & AIA Japan NWPR Design Conference held in Tokyo, Japan (at conference hotel, not exceed $800 value)
  • Second Prize:
    • $1,000
  • Third Prize:
    • $500
  • TOTO Prize (Best Universally Designed bathroom):
    • TOTO Washlet seat
    • Display at TOTO booth at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2011 NationalConvention and Design Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana, 12-14 May 2011


  • All submissions should contain original content only.
  • All entries must be submitted without identifying marks, including logos, text, insignia, or images on the display surface that could be used to identify the submission’s authors.
  • The AIA will have the right to use all information and materials submitted to display in exhibitions and publications to publicize the competition.
  • Entrants will be expected to complete and return copyright release forms. In addition, each entrant will be required to sign a declaration that neither the entrant individually nor any firm of which the entrant is an owner or manager employs unpaid interns, including working students.

How to enter?

Submit your entries via the American Institute of Architects’ online system.

For more information, please contact AIA Honors & Awards at kcawards [at] (please replace [at] with @).

Entry fee

Nonrefundable registration fees per entry:

  • Student: $45
  • AIA Member: $95
  • Nonmember: $135