AISC's IDEAS² Awards
The 2024 IDEAS² Awards are now open!
AISC is now accepting entries for the 2024 IDEAS² Awards.
Entries are due September 30, 2023.
What does innovation mean to you?
Steel has a unique ability to bring complex design visions to life quickly, efficiently, and sustainably.
The American Institute of Steel Construction’s Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS²) Award program recognizes projects that illustrate the exciting possibilities of building with structural steel.
And this year, we’re shaking things up to reflect the state of innovation in the industry. We're no longer evaluating structures based on their budgets. Instead, we're looking for the best projects in the country that highlight specific unique advantages of working with structural steel.
The judges will award IDEAS² Awards for:
Excellence in Engineering - for projects that take full advantage of the flexibility of a steel structural system and demonstrate the use of new design and construction techniques
Excellence in Architecture - for projects that use structural steel to create breathtaking structures that inspire and serve the communities around them
Excellence in Sustainable Design and Construction - for projects that use design and construction methods that reduce a project’s carbon footprint
Excellence in Adaptive Reuse - for projects that capitalize on how easy it is to use steel to give a structure a second life
Excellence in Constructability - for projects that utilize innovative design, project management, and construction methods that simplify, economize, and speed up the design and construction of steel buildings
What’s at stake? Winners will be invited to present their project to the industry at the Architecture in Steel conference, which is incorporated into NASCC: The Steel Conference (March 20 to 22, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas). They’ll also be featured in the May 2024 issue of Modern Steel Construction magazine and in other AISC media throughout the year.
There is no fee to enter the competition.
Who can enter?
Any member of a project's team can submit it for an IDEAS² award. However, a fabricator, erector, detailer, or other firm eligible for AISC Full or Associate membership submitting a project themselves must be an AISC member in good standing at the time of entry.
New buildings, expansions, and renovation projects (major retrofits and rehabilitations) are eligible. Sculptures, art installations, and non-building structures may also compete in the regular categories.
Building projects in the 2024 competition must be located in the U.S. and must be completed (either occupied or ready for occupancy) between January 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023.
At least 50% of the structural steel for the project must have been produced and fabricated in the U.S. by a company eligible for AISC full membership, or a unique or distinctive feature of the project must have been fabricated by a company eligible for AISC full membership, in a facility located in the U.S.
A significant portion of the framing system of a building must be wide-flange or hollow structural steel sections (HSS).
Pedestrian bridges entered in the competition must be an intrinsic part of a building and not stand-alone structures. If you would like to submit a bridge project, we encourage you to enter the National Steel Bridge Alliance's 2024 Prize Bridge Awards.
What are we looking for?
In preparing to enter, we suggest you think about the following:
how your project advances the use of structural steel, either technically or in architectural expression
how using architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) and coordinating structural steel elements with other materials elevated the aesthetic impact of the project
how your project applied innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection, and blast protection
how innovative design and construction methods such as 3D building models, interoperability, early integration of steel fabricators, modular or prefab design, alternative methods of project delivery, and sustainability or resiliency considerations improved your project
how implementing new and evolving principles and tools that drive the progression of modern design and project planning, such as data-driven design and the use of technology such as drones, VR, and AR for design and construction review
Click here to preview the questions the entry form will ask about your project.
What's old became new again in 2023, as fully half of the awards went to adaptive reuse projects!
“I love how this year’s winners not only use steel to create modern masterpieces but also take full advantage of steel’s unique ability to give a second life to structures that would otherwise be demolished,” said AISC President Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD. “Half of the projects that won this year use steel to reinvent structures that have been part of a community for decades or even a century. It’s wonderful to see steel preserve the character of a community by preserving its structures.”
The winners will also be featured in the May 2023 issue of Modern Steel Construction magazine.
What are the IDEAS² Awards?
Sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction, the Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS²) Award program recognizes projects that illustrate the exciting possibilities of building with structural steel. The IDEAS² awards showcase the innovative use of structural steel in:
- the accomplishment of the structure's program
- the expression of architectural intent
- the application of innovative design approaches to the structural system
- leveraging productivity-enhancing construction methods
AISC’s award programs have celebrated landmark structures built with structural steel since 1960. These architectural icons span generations and stand the test of time. AISC recognizes and promotes these projects in recognition of their impact in terms of structural innovation, advances in safety, benefit to the local community, and environmental consciousness.
While many of the winners are landmark structures, the awards program also honors smaller, less well-known projects. What all of the winners share is a commitment to innovation and imaginative design!
AISC had a number of award programs celebrating landmark structures built with structural steel since 1960. Regardless of which award they won, these architectural icons span generations and stand the test of time. AISC recognizes and promotes these projects in recognition of their impact in terms of structural innovation, advances in safety, benefit to the local community, and environmental consciousness.
While many of the winners are landmark structures, the awards program also honors smaller, less well-known projects. Winners have included widely recognized projects such as The Gateway Arch in St. Louis and The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. as well as an outstanding monumental stair, a gorgeous public transit station, and the sustainable equipment barn at a winery in addition to jaw-dropping high-rises and striking education buildings. What all of the winners share is a commitment to innovation and imaginative design!
Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) Awards Archive
In 2006, AISC joined its two previously separate architecture and structural engineering awards programs (EAE and IDEAS) into one: The IDEAS² Awards. This awards program was designed to recognize all team members responsible for excellence and innovation in a project’s use of structural steel.
Innovative Design and Excellence in Architecture with Steel (IDEAS) Awards Archive
The Innovative Design and Excellence in Architecture with Steel (IDEAS) Awards, presented from 1997-2005, recognized those designs where structural steel formed a prominent architectural feature of a building, either as an exterior or interior application.
Architectural Awards of Excellence (AAE) Archive
AISC established the Architectural Awards of Excellence in 1960 to recognize and honor outstanding architectural design in structural steel and to encourage further exploration of the many aesthetic possibilities that are inherent with steel construction.