/ Awards / Wanted: The Best Projects in America

Wanted: The Best Projects in America

Parul Dubey on May 28, 2024 - in Awards, News

Did You Work on One of the Best Projects in America?


CHICAGO – Just a handful of projects in the country will receive the structural steel industry’s top design honor next year. Will yours be one of them?

The American Institute of Steel Construction’s flagship competition for buildings, the IDEAS2 Awards, is now accepting entries!

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.

“Last year, six projects across the country won an IDEAS2 Award–and they represent the finest in structural steel innovation,” said AISC President Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD. “We are once again looking for your great ideas that highlight specific unique advantages of working with structural steel–things like sustainability, adaptability, cost, speed, reliability, and resilience–while making a lasting impact on the communities they serve.”

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 (April 2 to 4 in Louisville, Ky.). They’ll also be featured in the May 2025 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, 2024. AISC will announce the winners in early 2025.

Visit aisc.org/ideas2 for more information and to enter.

Eligibility requirements

  • 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.
  • 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.

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


For more information contact:
Dani Friedland
Director of Marketing Communications
[email protected]

About the American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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