University Programs

Steel Design-Build Grant Program

Have an idea for a design-build project that will expand student engagement with materials? Let us help you bring it to life--with steel!

Faculty members and students with faculty sponsors can propose projects to our Steel Design-Build Grant Program, and AISC will fund one or a handful of them every year. Besides project funds, we want to give architecture students the opportunity to engage with steel--that's why we'll pair them with fabricators who can collaborate at various stages of the project.

Alief SPARK Park and Nature Center Solar-powered Outdoor Classroom/ Butterfly Pavilion

Photo credit: Patrick Peters, University of Houston, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture Graduate
Design/Build Studio, Alief SPARK Park and Nature Center Solar-powered Outdoor Classroom/
Butterfly Pavilion, 2013.

Grant Program

The program, slated to begin in early 2024, is an application process for funds to support a variety of educational steel-related activities in architecture schools meant to benefit student learning, including but not limited to full-scale inhabitable builds or built prototypes, furniture, or studies of steel details in precedent buildings. Parameters are flexible to accommodate a wide range of classroom design-build activities and approaches, as well as different scheduling situations.

Don’t know a steel fabricator to partner with? We can help! Just contact us a month before the application is due, and we can put you in touch with a fabricator. We suggest a funding range for each proposal between $10,000 and a maximum of $30,000.


AISC accepts proposals from faculty or students with a faculty sponsor from any architecture program in the U.S.


  • AISC is not currently accepting applications. Keep an eye on this space for the next opportunity in late 2024!
  • Grant awards, payouts, and construction deadlines are determined by each applicant and are finalized in collaboration with AISC. These will vary depending on the project and school year structure.

Application Requirements

Please include all of the below items in one PDF. Email the PDF to Jeanne Homer, AIA at

Applicants should provide a description of:

  • The location of the school and the project; both should be in the U.S.
  • The course and/or research it is related to (studio, materials, structures, etc.)
  • The number of students involved and the number of builds; for example, are there several teams within one class, or one studio build?
  • The project: its function, scale, site, need for a permit, need for a foundation, etc. (1000 words max)
  • How the project focuses on steel, including the use of W-section, angles, channels, HSS, plates, angles, sheets, bolting, and welding (200 words max)
  • The learning objectives, related to NAAB, for example (200 words)
  • The method of construction; is it fabricated and erected by students, fabricators, or erectors? (25 words max)
  • Available workshop facilities, listing equipment, and safety plan*, if applicable (500 words max)
    • * Participants will receive PPE equipment from AISC.

Other items to include:

  • Letters of support outlining a commitment to the project from each of the project’s relevant partners, including clients, engineers, the city, the university, etc.
  • Outline of a proposed schedule of the project with separate design and building phases, including deliverables for each phase and interactions with AISC, including periodic check-ins.
  • Outline of the proposed budget integrated with the project schedule that states when the payouts are needed. Include the cost for items like student travel. The budget should not include indirect costs and overhead from the university; it is considered an educational project for students. Include equipment, rentals, or the cost of finishing the steel with coatings, for example. You may need to consult with your fabricator if applicable.
  • Potential contingencies, such as an unreliable time frame to obtain a building permit.

Judging Criteria

  • The potential for steel expression
  • Spirit of the project--is it community-focused and forward-thinking?
  • Consideration of schedule and process logistics--is it reasonable?
  • The value to students and AISC
  • Consideration of student involvement in the design, fabrication, and erection

Requirements upon award

  • Periodic reports and check-ins
  • Attendance and participation in NASCC: The Steel Conference following the completion of the project, either via an expo hall presentation or a session. Note that you will not need to include travel to this conference in the proposed budget.
  • AISC access to photos and AISC permission to use the photos.

If you have questions or concerns about any of the submittals or requirements, please contact Jeanne Homer, AIA at

The Loop sculpture

Photo credit: Rod Underwood, Ball State University R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture
and Planning, The Loop, Hands-On-Steel 2021-2022.

Design-Build Grant Recipients

2024 Recipients

Patrick Peters, the University of Houston's designLAB
Johnson Discovery Classroom in La Marque, Texas
To be completed in 2024

Lucas Brown and Daniel Luis Martinez, Indiana University
Bus Stop in Columbus, Indiana
To be completed in 2025

Julia Lindgren at the University of Texas, Arlington's Community Design Build Lab
Brookside Bicycle and Pedestrian Rest Stop on the Santa Fe Trail in Dallas, Texas
To be completed in 2025