AISC's IDEAS² Awards


IDEAS² Awards

AISC is now accepting entries for the 2025 IDEAS² Awards.

Entries are due September 30, 2024.


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.

We’re looking for exceptional projects that demonstrate how domestically fabricated structural steel fosters superior:

  • Engineering excellence
  • Architectural excellence
  • Adaptive reuse
  • Sustainability; and 
  • Constructability.

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  (April 2 to 4, 2025, in Louisville, Ky.). They’ll also be featured in the May 2025 issue of  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 2025 competition must be located in the U.S. and must be completed (either occupied or ready for occupancy) between January 1, 2023, and August 31, 2024.

  • At least 75% of the structural steel for the project must have been produced and fabricated in the U.S. by companies 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 2026 Prize Bridge Awards, which will start accepting entries around May 2025.

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

Read the full rules

2024 winners

Project teams across the country continue to push the boundaries with structural steel. This year, there are six projects that you need to know about for 2024.

They’re this year’s winners of the structural steel industry’s highest design honor: the Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (or IDEAS²) Awards, presented by the American Institute of Steel Construction.

“In previous years, the jury has considered projects in budget-based categories, but innovation comes in projects of all scales and sizes,” said AISC Senior Vice President Scott Melnick. “This year’s jury set out to find the projects that take full advantage of the specific benefits like sustainability, cost, speed, reliability, and resilience that make structural steel the best choice for designers--and they succeeded.”

CITYPARK
IDEAS² Award for Excellence in Architecture
CITYPARK, St. Louis
NVIDIA Phase II - Voyager
IDEAS² Award for Excellence in Architecture
NVIDIA Phase II - Voyager, Santa Clara, Calif.
GEODIS Park
IDEAS² Award for Excellence in Constructability
GEODIS Park, Nashville
Nashville International Airport
IDEAS² Award for Excellence in Engineering
Nashville International Airport Terminal Lobby and International Arrivals Facility Addition
NYU Paulson Center
IDEAS² Award for Excellence in Engineering
New York University’s John A. Paulson Center

Winship Cancer Institute Pedestrian Bridge
IDEAS² Award for Excellence in Sustainable Design and Construction
Pedestrian bridge at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory Midtown, Atlanta


The winners were also featured in the May 2024 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!

Award Archives

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.

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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.

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Engineering Awards of Excellence (EAE) Archive

The Engineering Awards of Excellence were presented annually from 1997-2005 to recognize engineering excellence and innovation in steel-framed buildings.

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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.

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