The Ingenuity and Resiliency of Restaurants Through their Revitalization of Urban Space to be Honored
In the 2021 AIA|LA Restaurant Design Awards
Design awards program dramatically restructured in its 17th year to address the challenges restaurants encountered in 2020 and their contributions to communities.

Los Angeles, CA – March 26, 2021— The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Chapter (AIALA) has revamped its Restaurant Design Awards (RDA) program for 2021 to honor restaurants that met the challenges of the 2020 pandemic, through the design of outdoor dining experiences, and through their service to communities and localities.

“The first AIALA Restaurant Design Awards was intended to acknowledge a global shift, the advent of cuisine as a cultural driver and Los Angeles as a culinary capitol. 2021 meant recognizing another historical moment and the restaurateurs and designers who addressed adversity through new iterations of place,” said AIA|LA Executive Director Carlo Caccavale, Hon. AIALA.

“Given last year’s shadow, putting the awards program on hiatus, as it was in 2020, was considered. But celebrating the resourcefulness of restaurateurs, of eateries large or small, and their designers, as they met the moment seemed a constructive way to support establishments that deliver engagement and connection as well as food,” he continued. “If anything, the isolation of 2020 demonstrates how necessary they are for society.”

Thus, this year the AIALA Restaurant Design Awards features al fresco categories only:

+ Built Al Fresco Restaurant & Cafés/Bars
+ Unbuilt Al Fresco Restaurant & Cafés/Bars

The built category recognizes design, often accomplished with spare budgets and tight time constraints, that has changed and enlivened pre-existing notions of street, sidewalk, and parking lot. Submissions for the unbuilt category are open to both formal restaurant commissions that are as yet unrealized and ideas, that originate from the designer, do not have clients attached, and offer alternate visions for this typology.

Entry registration is open until Friday, April 16, with submissions due on Monday, June 14. Entry prices have been significantly reduced from previous years to recognize economic conditions and to encourage a wide body of designers, including design students, to contribute ideas to the unbuilt category. To find out more information, click here or cut and paste this URL into a browser:

Finally, the AIALA website will feature a list of restaurants in neighborhoods across Los Angeles and beyond—whether still open, or closed due to the pandemic—to recognize the sacrifices of line cooks, sous chefs, dishwashers, chefs, restaurateurs, and delivery people—who have contributed to neighborhoods and individuals through cuisine and creating a sense of belonging. The public is invited to add restaurants of their choice to this list, by clicking here or using this URL in their browser:

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Tibby Rothman, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Marketing and Public Relations
t: 213.639.0763