2021 Residential Design Architecture Awards Submission Deadline is Closed

The deadline to register to enter RDAA has passed. Stay tuned for the results of the competition in Volume 3, 2021, of Residential Design Magazine.

The RD Architecture Awards recognize excellence in custom residential design.

This is a different kind of awards competition that covers the breadth and scope of work by talented residential architects and designers. We recognize that contemporary and contextual projects are sometimes difficult to judge against each other. We have, therefore, created two different paths of entry. In addition to categories based on location and scope of design, we’ve created categories specifically for contextual, vernacular, or traditional work to encourage submission of these projects to the program and to the magazine. Modern work will be judged against modern work; traditional work against traditional work.

This is not a web-only awards program.

All winning firms will receive their awards in person at a special event held concurrent with the 2021 AIA Conference on Architecture in Philadelphia.

All winning projects will be published in the print edition of Residential Design magazine distributed at the AIA Conference on Architecture, and published in the digital edition of the magazine and on RD’s website.

All entries will be judged by an independent jury of architects.

Online coverage of this year’s RDAA award-winning projects can be viewed here. And a digital facsimile of the print edition coverage can be seen here.


All entries must be submitted by or on behalf of an architect or designer.

The competition is open to residential projects within or outside the United States of America.

Projects completed on or after January 1, 2016 are eligible for entry.

Projects may be entered in multiple categories, if they conform to the category criteria.

Projects that have appeared previously in Residential Design or have won awards in other competitions may be entered if they meet all other eligibility criteria.

All entered projects must be professionally photographed at the time of submission (On the Boards projects are the exception).

To receive an award, all winning entrants must complete a detailed products specification form prior to the print publication deadline.

Special note: This a residential design excellence program that welcomes all styles of architecture. We do recognize that traditional projects and contemporary projects are sometimes difficult to judge against each other. We have therefore created categories specifically for contextual or vernacular work to encourage submission of traditional projects to the program and to the magazine.

However, we invite firms to enter projects where they feel they can best compete, and we will give jurors broad discretion to move them where their strengths can shine. Both modern and traditional work will be considered for the top honor of Project of the Year, and jurors will be given discretion to select one modern work and one traditional work for Project of the Year, if they so choose.

Fees and Deadlines

$125 per standard entry

$100 per special entry

Regular deadline to register your entry is January 13, 2021

Late deadline ($50 late fee required) to register your entry is February 4, 2021

Final deadline to submit all entry materials is February 25, 2021, 11:59 CT


Residential Standard Entry Categories

$125 each entry

  1. Custom Urban House

Houses located in cities, close-in suburbs, or towns. These houses respond to context in an inventive, expansive way, while balancing the need for privacy and connection to city life.

  1. Custom Rural or Vacation House

Houses unburdened by existing context and/or by the programmatic constraints of a primary dwelling, and that mine the unique benefits of their scenic locations.

  1. Custom Period or Vernacular House

Houses that respond directly and sensitively to existing architectural context, building conventions, or tenets of traditional and classical design. These projects are welcome in the Urban and Rural house categories as well.

  1. Renovation

Substantial additions or alterations to an existing home; also, whole-house remodels.

  1. Custom Period or Vernacular Renovation/Restoration/Preservation

Substantial additions and alterations to or restoration/preservation of an existing home where the goal is to honor, replicate, and/or enhance the original style. These projects are also welcome in the Renovation category.

Residential Special Project Categories

$100 each entry 

  1. Architectural Interiors

Whole-house interiors and apartment interiors, or outstanding special rooms, such as wine rooms, kitchens, baths, game rooms, offices, mudrooms, and the like.

  1. Architectural Details

Significant custom-designed and crafted details or focal points of the house. Fireplaces, staircases, ceiling details, scuppers, window seats are some examples.

  1. Custom Outdoor Living Design

Projects that extend living, dining, or cooking areas beyond the interior of the home and integrate indoor/outdoor spaces.

  1. Custom Accessory or Outbuilding

Detached guest houses, studios, garages, pool houses, architectural follies are some examples.

  1. Residential Special Constraints/Conditions

Single-family dwellings built to rigorous sustainable standards programs, stringent architectural review, or pattern book; adaptive reuse to residential; universal design; affordable, extraordinary budget or size constraints, residential pro-bono projects; prototype dwellings or projects that employ and explore special construction technologies.

  1.  Custom On the Boards

Unbuilt single-family residential projects of any scale and style, commissioned by a client. These projects should be fully conceived and clearly presented.

Residential Design Project of the Year

The jury will choose an overall project of the year from among the built project entries.

Both modern and traditional work will be considered for the top honor of Project of the Year, and jurors will be given discretion to select one modern work and one traditional work for Project of the Year, if they so choose.

About the Jury Process

All entries will be judged by an independent jury of architects selected for geographic and aesthetic diversity. 

The jury will be given broad discretion to move projects to different categories. The jurors may also combine categories or create new ones to better showcase award-worthy entries. Further, they may give more than one or no awards in each category, if they so choose. The judging will take place in early March, and winning projects will be published in Volume 3, 2021 of Residential Design magazine and on this website.

Click here to register or learn more about the program.

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