7 Tips for Creating a Winning A+Award Submission

When it comes to the A+Awards, the quality of the materials you submit is just as important as the project itself.

Nathan Bahadursingh Nathan Bahadursingh

The 9th Annual A+Awards is ramping up towards its conclusion, and some truly amazing projects and products have already been submitted. We can’t wait to reveal the world’s best designs to you once the Finalists are confirmed! To be a part of the world’s largest awards program for architecture and building products and be in the running to boost your business, make sure your firm registers and submits its best work before the Final Entry Deadline on April 23rd, 2021:

Enter the 9th Annual A+Awards

Winning an A+Award is about more than merely submitting a beautiful project. It ultimately comes down to the way a project is packaged to tell its story. Submissions should contain a comprehensive assemblage of elements that fully represents the project, from detailed photography to thorough descriptions. Both the jury and public voters should be able to understand the essence of a project in an instant.

When it comes to the A+Awards, little details matter. As we swiftly approach the Final Deadline of the 2021 A+Awards, here are 7 tips for creating a winning submission.

WERK12 by MVRDV, 2020 A+Award Popular Choice Winner in the Mixed Use Category; photo by Ossip.

1. Invest in Professional Photography

You should acquire the services of a photographer or get your hands on some great camera equipment in order to celebrate your project in its best light. We get many submissions with weak images that don’t do justice to the projects they portray.

Quadrant House, Popular Vote Winner in the Residential-Private House (XL >5000 sq ft) category in the 2019 A+Awards.

2. Include a Mixture of Mediums

Don’t be afraid to use a variety of mediums to communicate your project. Videos, animations, graphics and diagrams can each help the jurors and the general public better understand a proposal.

The Lowline Lab by Raad Studio, winner of three 2016 A+Awards in the following categories: Architecture +Self Initiated Projects and Architecture +Technology.

3. Submit in More Than One Category

You can increase your chances of being recognized for an award by submitting to more than one category. If your project qualifies, you could submit it within a typology category, such as residential, commercial or cultural, and also enter it into a Plus category, giving you the possibility of winning up to four A+Awards (a Popular Choice award and a Jurors award in each category).

Community Center of Sandu Poetic Residence by QIYUE Architects, 2020 A+Awards Jury Winner in the Architecture +Community category.

4. Consider Entering in a Plus Category

The Plus Categories are niche categories for materials, details and concepts centered on technology and society. Categories are wide ranging, from +Brick and +Adaptive Reuse to +Stairs and +Water, and there are dozens more to consider. Some of these more specialized categories typically receive less entries than the Typology categories, so a strong submission here will give you a great chance to win.

Museum of Forest Finn Culture in Svullrya, Norway by Lipinski Lasovsky Johansson, winner of a 2018 A+Award in the Unbuilt Cultural category.

5. Craft a Great Description

This sounds obvious, but a well written, well edited description is crucial in helping jurors decide. As well as descriptive details, architects and manufacturers can include emotive words that illustrate how a building makes the occupant feel, or how its atmosphere changes throughout the day, for example.

CURA pop-up COVID–19 clinic by Carlo Ratti Associati, 2020 A+Award Jury Winner in the Architecture +For Good category.

6. Focus on this Year’s Theme

To boost your chances, submit projects with features that align with this year’s A+Awards theme: “Architecture for a Changing World”. We are looking for projects that harness cutting-edge approaches their designs to meet the most pressing needs of today’s clients and the wider community. Submissions that clearly express the ways in which their project responds to our rapidly evolving environment have a great chance of success.

House 3000 by Rebelo de Andrade, Portugal, 2019 A+Award Winner in the Architecture +Color category

7. Look to Past Winners for Inspiration

Refer to previous years’ winners for inspiration and best practices for submitting. Winners of last year’s A+Awards not only wowed us with their breathtaking projects, but also the ways in which they packaged their work, ideas, processes, and more. It’s also worth checking out our extensive range of A+Awards-related content for more case studies of past winners, as well as further tips and tricks on perfecting your submission.


Now you have the knowledge, you’re ready to submit your best work for a 2021 A+Award to be in the running for international publication by The Monacelli Press, huge online exposure and the iconic A+Awards trophy!

Enter the 9th Annual A+Awards

Top image: Qishe Courtyard by ARCHSTUDIO, double 2020 A+Award Winner in the Architecture +Renovation category.

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