Facility Design Awards Submission Process

General Information

Statement of Purpose: To encourage excellence in the design of student-centered facilities that support campus community building and student learning. 

Eligibility: All entries must be college union or campus life facility projects built anywhere in the world; must have been completed, occupied, and in service prior to entry in this program; and must have been completed since Dec. 1, 2009. All entries must be submitted with the consent of the owner in the manner specified herein. Previous projects winning an ACUI Facility Design Award of Excellence are not eligible. 

Categories: Awards may be given for four budget categories of new college union buildings, additions, renovations, restorations, outdoor environments, interior dining environments, interior or outdoor recreation environments, and interior redesign and refurbishing. The total cost of the building or individual environment is the determining factor.  

  • Less than $25 million 
  • $25 million–$35 million 
  • $35 million–$55 million 
  • More than $55 million 

Another award may be given for a campus life facility other than a college union regardless of the cost of construction.


Online Entry Form
Enter online. Fill out the entry form completely. Please provide information as completely and concisely as possible. Responses should be framed from the viewpoint of how this student-centered facility supports campus community building and student learning.

Provide a full description of the project (up to 1,000 words) and a 100-word summary. The following questions are offered to help provide a framework for your response: 

  • How did the planning and design process involve students and the campus community? 
  • Did the planning process include partnerships with other campus departments or external agencies? If so, how did those partnerships affect the design? 
  • What aspects of the campus community's goals and program shaped the project and how does the design reflect those goals? 
  • Describe different and effective uses of space that support building community and student learning. 
  • How do the architecture and/or design incorporate technology to support the project goals? 
  • How did the architecture and/or design fit into the existing context of the campus architecture and master plan? 
  • What creative use was made of materials and building systems? 
  • Describe the strategies for passive and active energy efficiencies. 
  • Describe other sustainable design materials, methods, or practices implemented in the project. 
  • How did the design minimize short-term and/or long-term maintenance? 
  • If the project used existing building infrastructure, what imaginative design features evolved? 
  • How does the facility cultivate a sense of student and alumni spirit? 
  • How did the architect make a difference in making the project happen? 
  • How does the project relate to the Role of the College Union statement?

Photographs from the viewpoint of how this student-centered facility supports campus community building and student learning, please upload up to 16 color images of the project illustrating the following:  

  • Exterior views together showing all the principal facades of the building including a view of the exterior entrance 
  • Exterior view of how the building fits into existing campus structure
  • For renovations, at least one photograph before renovation 
  • For additions, detailed photograph and the connections to the original building 
  • Interior view of facility from entrance area 
  • Interior view showing a major public services position (dining service, lounge, etc.) 
  • Interior view showing a typical user area 
  • Interior view of general lounge area, if applicable, using existing lighting only 
  • Interior view showing a major function in a public area, if applicable 
  • Interior view of student activities spaces 
  • Interior or exterior views of the completed facility in use 
  • Any additional views explaining special design features that capture the uniqueness of the project 

In addition to the 16 uploaded, supplemental photographs or informal snapshots may be submitted with the support materials as these may be necessary to evaluate fully the project and its environment. It is emphasized that the objective is to evaluate the facility, not to reward a photographer's skill in concentrating on photographic composition. Concise captions on all photos and other images help tell the story. Be certain that full photo/rendering credits are noted.

Descriptive Data
Please use the online form provided for recording entry data. To simplify the jury's task of studying a large number of entries, it is requested that these data be stated as precisely as possible. 

Concealed Identification
Please do not conceal the firm or institution name in the support materials. All requested contact information must be included in the entry. Should the entry receive an award, the information provided will be used for notifications and news releases and certificates. There will be no further communication about any submission regarding verification of the facts as outlined on this form. Therefore, please be certain the following are absolutely accurate: 

Architecture Firm Credit (at the time of the design of the facility)
All designations such as:

  • Project partners (max three - submittor and two others)
  • Consultant 
  • Associate architect(s) 
  • City and state locations 
  • All spelling 
  • All punctuation 
  • Support Materials 

The following supporting materials are to be sent to ACUI by the entry deadline: 

  • CD or Jump Drive with print-quality (300 dpi or greater .gif, .jpg, or .eps format) photographs should be submitted. 
  • Eight full-color copies of the printed materials (photos and descriptions) with no more than two photos on each 8 1/2" x 11" page. A printed copy of the 1,000 word description and the 100 word summary shall accompany the submission. Entries that do not provide eight copies of the printed materials may be deemed ineligible. 

All entries become the property of ACUI. Note release requirement listed in the publication section. One copy of the photo release form. Contact acuicorp@acui.org for a copy of the form. 

Entry Fee: Each submission must be accompanied by a check, money order, or credit card payment to the Association of College Unions International. The nonrefundable fee for the first submission is $625 for ACUI associate members and $1,450 for nonmembers. This fee includes one 8' space in the Architecture and Design Showcase for firms registered for the ACUI Expo at the conference in Philadelphia. The fee for each additional entry by the same architect or firm is $575 for members and $1,400 for nonmembers. Additional space for firms in the Architecture and Design Showcase is available for an extra fee. No entry fees will be refunded for entries or participation in the Architecture and Design Showcase that do not materialize. 

Please send the printed materials and payments to: 

ACUI Facility Design Awards Program
One City Centre, Suite 200
120 W. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47404-3839 

Updated June 28, 2016