5 Prestigious Awards for Architects You Should Know About

The life of an architect can be a tough one, from coordinating several projects to regular client meetings and construction complications. You keep pushing on; to keep time and continue to hammer out a notable experience and a final solution. But, this does not mean that your work remains unrecognized. Every year, architects around the world compete for prestigious awards and it comes as no surprise that the competition is fierce.

However, there are a lot of awards you may be missing out on that could drive more attention and recognition to your work. Check out these 5 Awards that could help you get noticed with a wide range to choose from specific-material industry awards to publications. Are you working with bricks or incorporating steel in an innovative way that you think deserves some love?


Founded by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife, the Pritzker Architecture Prize was created “to honor a living architect or architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture”. The award is sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation and an annual grant of US$100,000 is funded by the Pritzker family and they are a citation certificate and a bronze medallion. In 2016, the prize was awarded to the Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena.

The Executive Director, Martha Thorne requests nominations from past Laureates, critics and academics. In addition to this, licensed applicants may submit their applications for the award before the 1st of November every year. An independent jury of experts that comprise five to nine members announce the winner in spring. The earlier chair holders were J. Carter Brown (1979-2002) and Lord Rothschild (2003-04), while Lord Peter Palumbo has consistently been the Chair of the prize since 2005.

This year’s Pritzker jury awarded Indian architect, Balkrishna Doshi as the 2018 Pritzker Prize Laureate. With over 70 years experience in architecture, Doshi has worked with both Le Corbusier and Louis Khan and his poetic architecture takes inspiration from Eastern influences to create the kind of work that “has touched lives of every socio-economic class across a broad spectrum of genres since the 1950s,” cites the jury. He is also the first Indian architect to receive architecture’s highest honor. He says, “Young architects need to connect to the world, they need to understand technology and they also need to learn about how to economize and sustain buildings as well as society’s culture”.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Aga-khan-award Architects

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established by Aga Khan IV in 1977 and takes place every three years. It awards projects that have taken landscape architecture, planning practices and historic preservation to the next level. Their efforts seek to recognize and encourage building concepts that effectively address the needs of and aspirations of societies across the world, where Muslims have a noteworthy presence.

The winners of the 2016 Aga Khan Award for Architecture were first announced on 3 October 2016 at the Al Jahili fort in Al Ain and they are:


Bait Ur Rouf Mosque, Dhaka whose architect is Marina Tabassum. Built in brick using traditional methods, this mosque is an attempt to create a language of architecture that takes essence from the glorious legacy of the mosque architecture in Bengal during the Sultanate period, while maintaining a contemporary expression. Tabassum says, “I have used brick because it is a material of this place. I really believe that architecture should be rooted to its place and it needs to be accepted by people”.


Micro Yuan’er Children’s Library and Art Centre, Beijing has been selected for its embodiment of contemporary life in the traditional courtyard residences of Beijing’s Hutongs.


Superkilen, Copenhagen is a public space that promotes integration across ethnicities, religions and cultures.


Tabiat Pedestrian Bridge in Tehran is a multi-level bridge that spans over a busy motorway and has created a dynamic new urban space.


The Issam Fares Institute in Beirut is a new building that was built for the American University of Beirut’s campus.

AIA Gold Medal

AIA-Gold-Medal for Architects

The Gold Medal is the highest annual honor by AIA and it gives recognition to individuals who have had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Well-renowned architects such as Moshe Safdie, Denise Scott Brown & Robert Venturi, and Paul Revere Williams have been honored with a Gold Medal. James Stewart Polshek was awarded the 2018 AIA Gold Medal. He is known for his restoration and renovation of New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1987 and was coupled with a heavy dose of advocacy to protect landmark buildings. His most well-known projects include the glass Rose Center for Earth and Space at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. “Polshek fostered an environment wherein design excellence, effective collaboration and rigorous research work to create enduring architecture”, said an official from the American Institute of Architects.


Riba- Award for Architects

The Royal Institute of British Architects award the RIBA International Award to buildings across UK and the world. The Award has been presented over the last 50 years to those whose architecture have exhibited innovation even in situations where size or budget has been a constraint. The 2018 Prize will be based on criteria like architectural ambition, design excellence, while delivering a meaningful social impact.

UIA Gold Medal

UIA-Gold-Medal for Architects

The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced the winners of the 2017 UIA Gold Medal and Prizes. It was established in 1961 and the prizes were awarded every 3 years to “honor professionals whose qualities, talents, and actions have had an international impact on the diverse sectors of architectural practice.” The UIA has announced that it will have its Gold Medal awarded to the Chinese born American architect and 1983 Pritzker Laureate, leoh Ming Pei. The Pritzker Prize awarded to him in 1983 by jury cite that he “has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms.”  

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