AISC Shakes Up Steel Industry's Top Design Award for 2024

The Federal Reserve Building in Seattle was one of 10 IDEAS² Award-winning structures for 2023.

AISC's flagship competition for buildings is now accepting entries for the 2024 IDEAS² Awards--and this year will be different from previous years.

AISC's Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS²) Awards recognize outstanding projects that illustrate the exciting possibilities of structural steel. They are the industry's most prestigious design honor for building structures.

Previously, awards were given based on the size of a project. AISC has now updated the competition to focus more on innovation regardless of the project's budget.

"There's so much innovation in the design community and industry today across all budgets," said AISC President Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD. "Dollars are no longer the best way to categorize structures. Instead, we're looking for the best projects in the country that highlight specific unique advantages of working with structural steel--things like sustainability, adaptability, cost, speed, reliability, and resilience."

The judges will present 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.

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

IDEAS² Awards don't only go to high-profile projects. In recent years, AISC has honored everything from public transit projects to monumental stairs to jaw-dropping high-rises. We’re looking for innovation and imaginative design in all its forms!

Entries are due by September 30, 2023. AISC will announce finalists late this year and unveil the winners in early 2024.

Visit for more information and to enter.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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 between January 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023.
  • A significant portion of the framing system of a building must be wide-flange or hollow structural steel sections (HSS).
  • The majority of the steel used in the project must be domestically produced.
  • The project must have been fabricated by a company eligible for AISC full membership. Projects with a unique or distinctive feature fabricated by a company eligible for AISC full membership will also be considered.
  • Pedestrian bridges entered in the competition must be an intrinsic part of a building and not stand-alone structures. We encourage members of project teams for standalone bridges to enter the National Steel Bridge Alliance's 2024 Prize Bridge Awards.

History of the program

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.

The prestigious list of winners includes such enduring landmarks as:

  • One World Trade Center, New York
  • The Gateway Arch, St. Louis
  • Willis Tower, Chicago
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington
  • The PanAm Passenger Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

In 2023, only 10 projects around the country won IDEAS² Awards.