Thursday, March 11, 2010

About the High School Design Competition

The AIA Toledo High School Design Competition is the longest running program of its kind in the
history of the American Institute of Architects. It is a nationally recognized, award winning program and we are very proud of the accomplishments of all of our students. Over $10,000 in scholarships and prizes were awarded last year and we intend to award just as much this year!

AIA Toledo gives the students a hypothetical building project and asks them to produce a presentation-quality design board. Each school is assigned a professional advisor (local architects, depending on availability) to help guide the students through the design process. Creativity is encouraged, and students immerse themselves in the profession of architecture.
When the presentation boards are completed, a panel of Architects judges the completed projects based on how they functionally and visually address the building project.

The requirements of the typical program don’t just stop at the building; the entire site is a concern of the designer. To help reflect this, The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Maumee Valley Section, provides representatives who judge the layout of the site, and assigns advisors to guide landscape design along with the architects.
Recognizing that the ability to convey a design is of great importance, the projects are judged
separately on their graphic qualities. Harold Roe, AIA, noted architectural illustrator and artist, has judged the graphic presentations for many years, and continues to present an award for the
best overall graphic presentation every year.

Originally started in 1950 with 23 entries from three high schools, the competition has grown to
as many as 206 entries from as many as 25 area high schools. Last year, the competition received 154 entries from 13 participating high schools. Projects have been as varied as a Parking Lot Office (1950), to a Toledo Automotive Museum (1999), to a fast food restaurant (1977), to an Architect’s Office (1968 & 2007).

In 2006, the competition obtained matching scholarship grants from the AIA National Component, allowing us to double the amount of prize money for the top senior entrants. The
AIA National Component 1:1 matching grant program allowed us to award the top senior a $5,200.00 scholarship to an accredited school of architecture, while the runner-up received a total scholarship of $2,800.00. Cash prizes and books are awarded to the winners of the Freshman/Sophomore and Junior divisions, as well as the Landscape and Graphics categories.

Follow this link for a PDF brochure further explaining this year's competition.

If you would like more information, please email the competition’s co-chairs at