IDEAS² Awards

Congratulations to our 2017 IDEAS2 Award Winners! 

Sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, the Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) recognizes projects where structural steel has been utilized in an innovative manner. The innovative use of structural steel may be in:

  • the accomplishment of the structure's program
  • the expression of architectural intent
  • the application of innovative design approaches to the structural system
  • the utilization of productivity enhancing construction methods

Project Basis

The design and construction industry is growing in recognition of the value of coordination, collaboration and teamwork in the successful accomplishment of a project's program. In active support of this trend, AISC has brought together previously separate architectural and structural engineering award programs that focused on a single aspect of the building project into a single program designed to recognize excellence and innovation in the use of structural steel on a comprehensive, project basis. Awards will be made to the project recognizing and awarding all members of the project's team involved with the structural framing system: architectural firm, structural engineering firm of record, general contractor, detailer, fabricator, erector as well as the project owner. Specialty consultants and contractors will be recognized at the discretion of the architect and structural engineer of record. Any member of the project team may submit a project for consideration.


We are now accepting applications for the 2018 IDEAS2 competition.  The entry deadline for the 2018 IDEAS2 Awards competition is October 6 at 11:59 pm (CST). A significant portion of the framing system of the project must be wide-flange or hollow structural steel sections. Pedestrian bridges entered in the competition must be an intrinsic part of a building; not stand-alone structures.


A panel of design and construction industry professionals will judge the entries in three categories according to constructed value in US dollars:

  • Less than $15 million
  • $15 million to $75 million
  • Greater than $75 million
  • Sculptures/Art Installations/Non-building Structures

National and Merit awards and the Presidential Award of Excellence for structural engineering and architectural expression are bestowed at the judges' discretion. Projects selected for recognition will be announced at the 2018 North American Steel Construction Conference in Baltimore in April. Awards are presented by AISC to the submitting firms and their fellow project team members at the individual project sites throughout the year. Winning projects will be featured in the May issue of Modern Steel Construction magazine.

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Submission Requirements

  • Completion of the online entry form
  • Project description uploaded online (500-1000 words): Statement of project size and cost, statement of architechural accomplisment, statement of structual engineering accomplishment, statement of innovative project teamwork and productivity enhancement 
  • Photographs and drawing of the project uploaded online
  • Entry fee of $150 (if any member of the project team is an AISC member, the entry fee is waived)

Project Description

In 500 to 1,000 words, describe, in terms of intentions and resolution, how the project exceeds the requirements of competent practice. The descriptive, written and graphic, is intended to assist the jury in quickly developing a sound understanding of both general characteristics of the building project and the specific way in which it demonstrates design excellence. The information provided to the jury should not repeat what is already made clear in the graphic submittal, but it should include project intentions -- program requirements, site features, cost data, etc. 

Image Criteria

  • Exterior and interior images. 
  • Images of steel construction and erection. 
  • Any necessary credits for photos, images and graphics. 
  • If more than one photographer's photos are submitted in an entry, each photo's filename should denote the name of the specific photographer to be credited. (Example of a filename: Willis Tower exterior.JohnSmith.jpg

Project Details
While the following are not requirements, at a minimum, a selection of exterior, interior and steel construction images—with photo credit designations—should accompany each entry. 

  • At least one image showing each exposed side of the building or environment. 
  • At least one additional images showing the immediate, context of each exposed side of the building or environment (omit if the project's relationship to its environs is clearly defined in other images).
  • For a group of buildings, at least one images of the project sufficient to illustrate the concept, including its relationship to its environs.
  • For projects involving exterior alterations, at least one images of each altered (exposed side) together with at least one image of the side before alteration (unless evidence is submitted on the unavailability of the latter). 
  • A site plan, floor plan and one or more sections sufficient to explain the project solution. 

Competition Rules

To be eligible, submitters agree to abide by all rules and regulations of AISC's 2018 IDEAS2 Awards program. We will begin accepting applications for the 2018 competition in late spring. 

  • Building projects in AISC's 2018 competition must be located in the U.S. between January 1, 2015 and December, 2017. 
  • A significant portion of the framing system of a building must be wideflange or hollow structural steel sections. 
  • New buildings, expansions, and renovation projects (major retrofits and rehabilitations) are eligible. 
  • Pedestrian bridges entered in the competition must be an intrinsic part of a building and not stand-alone structures. 
  • Firms and companies may submit multiple building projects. 
  • Each submittal will be considered separately. 
  • Any member of the project team may enter a project in the awards program. 
  • Acceptance of this agreement authorizes AISC to disclose information about the recipient of the award and the building project. 
  • Project team members of winning projects should expect to be asked for additional information and commentary about their projects by representatives of AISC and the media. 
  • Submitted photographs and images used for exhibition or publication purposes will bear the customary photographer's credit line. However AISC is not responsible for errors or omissions. AISC reserves the privilege of retaining possession of all materials for reproduction and subsequent exhibition. Submitting firms and companies and project photographers agree to the release of the photographs and images submitted for use by AISC.