NSW Architecture Awards



The Australian Institute of Architects Awards program offers an opportunity for public and peer recognition of the innovative work of NSW architects. The program also provides the Institute with a valuable mechanism to promote architects and architecture within NSW, across Australia and internationally.

By entering into the NSW Architecture Awards and therefore the National Architecture Awards program, you give yourself, your firm and your staff the opportunity to be judged for the work you are proud of, the issues you stand for and to show your peers what you have been working on.  It can be an important contributor to your membership in the architectural community, and also offer milestones in your career – whether as an emerging architect, small firm or as a member of a larger project team.

NSW Prizes are either awarded to relevant entries in the Awards submission pool, or are presented following an open call for independent nominations each year. Prizes open for nomination include the Marion Mahony Griffin Prize, David Lindner Prize, Emerging Architect Prize, City of Sydney Lord Mayor’s Prize for Design Excellence, Blacket Prize, NSW President’s Prize and NSW Premier’s Prize. Please see the Prizes page for more information.

Submit your online entry for the 2018 NSW Architecture Awards (open from 6 December 2017 to 2 March 2018).

Important Guidance Documents



Core Criteria

To ensure an equitable basis upon which entries can be judged, jury decisions are guided by a uniform set of criteria called the ‘Core Criteria’.

The Core Criteria are as follows:

  • Conceptual framework: underlying principles, values, core ideas and philosophy
  • Public & cultural benefits: amenity and concepts contributing to the public domain
  • Relationship of built form to context: concepts engaged with new and pre-existing conditions
  • Program resolution: functional performance assessed against the brief
  • Integration of allied disciplines: contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists and other specialists to achieve the outcome
  • Cost/value outcome: effectiveness of decisions related to financial issues
  • Sustainability: benefit to the environment through design
  • Response to client & user needs: additional benefits interpreted from the brief, serving the client or users and the community.

Read the Awards, Prizes and Honours Policy for more information about the Awards Program.


How to Enter

Before starting an entry, members are strongly advised to read through the 2018 National Architecture Awards Entry Handbook and Awards Policy, which includes all relevant requirements for both state and national awards.
It is important that you familiarise yourself with the National Awards Policy and Entry Handbook before starting your submission. There have been a few changes this year, including:

  • Entrants must be a financial Institute Member for the duration of the year in which the award is given (see the Membership page for information on joining the Institute. A+ Members receive 10% discount on entry fees).
  • The use of Bluescope Steel products is a criterion for the COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture. 
  • Changes to the additional compulsory entry materials (A2 Boards with one single portrait image to be ordered via Big Image).

Online Entry: Awards submissions are made via an online entry system, and supplemented with additional entry materials. Entries are required to include a selection of digital images, drawings and plans which are also submitted via the online system. Online entries should be completed, paid and submitted before the closing date.

Copyright and consent forms

Copyright and consent forms are now to be filled out and uploaded as part of your entry. Therefore, it is important that you have confirmed the project attribution at the beginning of the process and ensured all authors have given you their consent.

General tips to get your online entry started:

1. Contact details: The first time you use the online entry system, it will prompt you to register as a User. Please note that the address entered here will receive the automated emails from the system to do with this entry and the online entry system (eg. notifications of entry submitted, payment pending, etc.). The contact for the project entry (whether an Institute Member or not) should register as the User, and also provide their details in the Contact Details section of the form. There will be another opportunity within the form to provide the Member’s email address for approval of the submission. If you have registered before in previous awards programs, you will not need to re-register. Please use your previous log in details. 

2. Email addresses: Please refrain from providing generic email addresses for your entry (for example: admin@ or enquiries@, etc.). Communications often go missing if these inboxes are not well-monitored, so it is preferred if you provide a direct email address.

3. Photography: If you haven’t already, organise a photographer to take photos of your project straight away in order to avoid missing the submission deadline in your Chapter (check closing dates here). 

4. Project attribution: Confirm the name of your project and practice attribution with all contributing authors before you begin your submission. 

5. Deadlines: We are not accepting any late submissions for the 2018 Awards program, so familiarise yourself with all Chapter submission deadlines early and get started on your submission.

6. Hero image: Choose your hero image, and upload this first to the entry system. *NB: Your hero image should be landscape orientation, and will be used in all promotional material for your project.

7. Browser: Do not use Internet Explorer to complete your submission, as it is no longer supported by Microsoft. Other browsers we recommend include Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. 

Additional compulsory entry materials: In addition to their online entry, entrants must produce a display board.
The art work for the display board should be provided to Big Image by the 2 of March 2018. This A2 exhibition board will be used for consideration by the jury. The A2 Boards must include one single portrait image only, either a high-resolution hero or detail photograph with no border to be ordered via Big Image (NB. the Institute has negotiated a competitive print rate for members which includes also delivery).

Please note: Each individual entry is expected to be accompanied by its own presentation board and digital presentation, even where the same project has been entered into multiple categories (e.g. 2 category entries = 2 exhibition boards and 2 digital Presentations). This allows us to feature your project in multiple categories in future exhibitions, and helps us in preparing the jury presentation days.

Entry Fees

  • Standard Entry fee: $700 ex. GST
  • A+ Membership discount (10%): $630 ex. GST
  • Payments are to be made via the online entry system. 

Key Dates 2018

  • Entries open (via online entry system): Wednesday 6 December 2017
  • Entries Close: Friday 2 March 2018 (submitted online by 11.59PM AEDT)
  • Additional entry materials: The art work for the display board should be provided to Big Image by Friday 2 March 2018 
  • Presentation to jury days: 9-13 April 2018 (date & format TBA – Individual presentation date and time will be provided asap following the Awards submission deadline).
  • Jury site visits: 7-11 May 2018 (Applicants notified individually if visit is requested by the jury)
  • NSW Awards Presentation Evening: Friday 6 July 2018


Award Categories and Prizes

  • Category 1: Public Architecture
  • Category 2: Educational Architecture
  • Category 3: Residential Architecture – Houses New
  • Category 4: Residential Architecture – Houses Alterations and Additions
  • Category 5: Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing
  • Category 6: Commercial Architecture
  • Category 7: Heritage – Creative Adaptation and Conservation
  • Category 8: Interior Architecture
  • Category 9: Urban Design
  • Category 10: Small Project Architecture
  • Category 11: Sustainable Architecture – Awards are conferred after considering all entries across all categories
  • Category 12: Enduring Architecture – Members are not able to enter this category directly (refer to paragraph 2.1.3 and 2.1.5 in the 2018 National Architecture Awards Entry Handbook).
  • Category 13:  International Architecture
    This award acknowledges the work of Institute members resident outside Australia and local members undertaking commissions overseas. All members wishing to submit entries for the International Architecture Award should refer to 7.3 INTERNATIONAL CHAPTER AWARDS in the Awards Entry Handbook for full details. All enquiries should be directed to Jamie Penrose (international@architecture.com.au).
  • Category A1: COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture – Awards are conferred after considering all entries across all categories.

For detailed explanations of each entry category please refer to the 2018 National Architecture Awards Entry Handbook.


To enter the National Architecture Awards, entrants must be a registered architect and Institute member. Entrants must be registered in the state or territory of entry, and be a principal of the practice who is an owner, or a formal licensee of the copyright in the work being entered. Where the entrant is a formal licensee (does not own the copyright), the entry must be accompanied by a written agreement from the copyright owner stating that the work may be entered for an award.

To be eligible, projects must have reached practical completion by 31 December in the year preceding the year of judging. Projects are to be entered in the Chapter or Region where they are located, not where the entrant or practice is located. Entrants who have carried out projects outside of Australia may enter those projects in the International category.

Entries may be judged at the National Awards level only once. Therefore, any project that has previously been awarded a Named Award or Architecture Award are not not eligible for any future awards program, except where the award was given for Sustainable Architecture. Projects awarded a Commendation are eligible for future award programs.

For full eligibility criteria please refer to the 2018 Awards Entry Handbook and the Awards Policy.


Jury Presentations

Entrants will be required to present to juries on a nominated date. The format of the presentation MUST be:

  • 5 minutes for Residential Architecture – Houses category only;
  • 10 minutes for all other categories;
  • saved with the project name and entry number specified in the filename;
  • submitted in either PDF or PowerPoint format (files must be saved as .ppt rather than .pptx);
  • up to 300dpi standard resolution and saved in a manageable size;
  • limited video content is permitted, but entrants are encouraged to use the presentation to maximise face to face time with the Jury;
  • provided on a USB labelled with: entry no, entered category (or categories), practice name and project name.

subject to the time of your Presentation to Jury (9 – 13 April 2018 – Dates and format TBA), preferred delivery is to our AV team on the day. Further information will be circulated to entrants closer to the date.
Each individual entry is expected to be accompanied by its own digital presentation, even where the same project has been entered into multiple categories (e.g. 2 category entries = 2 digital Presentations). This allows us to feature your project in multiple categories in future exhibitions, and helps us in preparing the jury presentation days. 



Jurors for both the Newcastle and NSW 2018 Architecture Awards are nominated by the Awards & Prizes Committee taking into account the EOI submitted in last five years. 
The deadline to submit an EOI for the 2018 Awards was Friday 24 November 2017. For more information and details of how to submit please click here

NSW Selection Process

  1. The relevant jury reviews all entries in their category.
  2. All entries are required to present their project in a public forum – Presentation to Juries.
  3. After presentations have occurred, the relevant jury select the projects that they wish to visit.
  4. Selected projects are visited for 20 minutes only.
  5. The site visits are coordinated by the Awards & Prizes Officer but arranged by the architect with their client.
  6. The architect and/or client are required to be on site.
  7. If the project is located in regional NSW a majority of jurors will attend the site visit.
  8. After site visits are completed the relevant jury determines a shortlist.
  9. Following further deliberation, the relevant jury recommends projects for awards from the shortlist, and prepares the relevant citations.


Sulman Medal – History

The NSW Chapter of the Institute of Architects introduced its first design award in 1932. 

The Sulman Medal was named for the English-trained architect John Sulman who had been working in NSW since the 1880s.
Sulman was a passionate advocate of town planning and the Medal which commemorates his work was intended to be for a building of exceptional merit that contributed to the streetscape. 

For over three decades the type of building given the award cycled between five classes:

  1. Public and Monumental – Government Buildings, Town Halls, Art Galleries, Railway Stations &  Hospitals &c
  2. Educational and Ecclesiastical – Schools, Churches, Convents &c
  3. Commercial & Industrial – Office Buildings, Warehouses, Factories &c
  4. Recreational – Theaters, Sporting Buildings &c
  5. Domestic & Residential – Homes, &c.

In addition Australian buildings were eligible for awards given by the Royal British Institute of Architects (RIBA).  

The Sulman Medal became a vehicle for the introduction of new architectural ideas, and the award to Harry Seidler for the Rose Seidler House in 1951 caused a controversy that was reported across the country.

In 1958-1960 the cycling through building types for the annual Sulman Medal was abandoned, and buildings of all classes could be entered each year.



For all enquiries relating to the Newcastle Architecture Awards please contact the NSW Awards & Prizes Officer or call 02 9246 4013.