The American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIALA)

Announces 2021 AIALA Design Awards and Next LA Awards in front of 600 Attendees at
SoFi Stadium in Inglewood

For a full listing of winning projects and architects, along with jury notes on each project, scroll down.

Three levels of achievement are awarded in each category. Honor, Merit, Citation; Honor being the top ranking. The typology of each building is noted for reference purposes in the Design Awards and Next LA Categories; for instance, Institutional or Single-Family Residential.

To view images of the 2021 AIALA Design Awards winners, the best built projects of the year and the 2021 Next LA Awards, click the following links:

+ 2021 Design Award winners

+ 2021 Next LA Award winners

(Los Angeles, CA – October 28, 2021) “Elevating. Exuberant and restrained. Sublime. Living creatures. Materially rich.” These are just a few of the words used by a design awards jury to describe the 2021 AIALA Design Awards winners, announced by the American Institute of Los Angeles Chapter tonight.

In all, twenty-one built projects were awarded, which the jury also characterized as exuding “urban generosity, a sense of dignity, timelessness”; while sixteen, designed but as yet un-built projects, were named Next LA winners. The latter were honored for being “subtle yet strategic, fantastic public space, sleek, meticulously crafted, breathtaking”; “bold contributions… and engaging social space”, and more.

“What is important to note, as an architect, as President of the AIA Los Angeles, and as a resident of the Los Angeles region, is the expansion of sustainability strategies that are seamlessly integrated in aesthetics,” said AIALA President Wade Killefer, FAIA, Partner Emeritus, KFA Architecture. “Los Angeles continues to be a forward-leaning capital of architecture. Designers based here, and the architecture realized in the city, demonstrate how design may be harnessed to address the pressing threat of our time, climate change; and the crisis of so many people without housing.”

This year, AIA Los Angeles extended its recognition of the importance of sustainability. All Design Awards entrants were required to be signatories to the American Institute of Architects 2030 Challenge, which is set of by actions to meet Paris Climate Agreement targets. To be considered for Honor Awards (the highest level of recognition), firms were required to submit energy data in the AIA’s 2030 Design Data Exchange platform—a tool that tracks energy usage and other metrics in order to improve carbon performance.

A sold-out crowd of five-hundred attended the 2021 AIALA Design Awards party which took place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, on a night that, effectively, made the AIALA the only guests.

The setting inspired an informality to the annually-held event, turning what is typically a ceremony hosted in a grand theatre into a party under a sweeping roof that looked out over the stadium’s playing field.

Luminescent and colorful AIALA Design Awards logos ran on digital “ribbons” encircling the field. Images of winning projects and firms were projected against two ample structural columns with the iconic Forum in the background. Winners were announced from three separate stages, while, post-ceremony, SoFi Stadium’s giant “infinity board” became the ultimate selfie background, displaying the vibrant Design Awards identity graphic as well as photographs of Presidential Honorees and their work.

In addition to the juried awards, Presidential Honorees, selected by Killefer and the 2021 AIALA Board of Directors and announced previously by the AIALA, were also celebrated. Presidential Honoree recipients were announced on July 8, 2021.

+ Presidential Honorees

For high quality images of winners and for more information about the event, please call 213-639-0763 or email

On Monday night, November 1, from 6:00P – 7:30P, the AIALA hosts “Inside Look: A Designer to Designer Conversation” on Zoom. This free program is a deep dive into the Design Awards recipients, answering the question: ‘What is design excellence in our era?’ It features winning designers sharing insights on how they addressed the shifting challenges of our time, a Q&A, and more. For more information:

(listed by typology, then award level – Honor being highest)

Typology: Adaptive Re-use/Renovation/Historical Preservation

Tower Theatre
Los Angeles, California
Foster + Partners and Gruen Associates
Photo: Cesar Rubio
The jury really appreciates the care and level of detail taken with the restoration of this existing theater building. It’s great to see a company like Apple rethink their standard retail typology to embrace adaptive reuse within existing contexts in an urban area. At the same time, the design still celebrates the kind of volume and spatial characteristics we associate with the brand. It’s a real act of urban generosity to restore this, which is pretty much a white elephant, and they’ve made it this wonderful thing that they’re sharing with the city.

Westbrook Residence Remodel
Los Angeles, California
Good Project Company
Photo: Kelly Barrie/ Panic Studios
What is great about this home is that they improved the original, while staying true to its character and by really sensitively thinking through all the stages in a very complicated way. That’s the issue with any kind of renovation. They’re living creatures. They ripped out the pretty nice kitchen and put in something that actually made more sense, but that feels original. The new design augments the original house while retaining the timelessness of Neutra’s design. The contemporary interventions feel at home in this place.

Typology: Affordable Housing

Flor 401 Lofts
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
Photo: Eric Staudenmaier
This project is very successful urbanistically. The courtyard is not only a sustainable design feature that brings daylight into the interior, but also an environment that feels personable and individual and simultaneously contributing to the scale of the neighborhood. It’s really great. The rigorous use of color is both exuberant and restrained. We’d like to see more supportive housing projects rise to this level.

Typology: Cityscapes

Rainbow Bridge at Seaside Way
Long Beach, CA
Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA | SPF:architects
Photo: John Linden
Elevating the public works project into something that’s really a wonderful place in itself—that stitches together the city very thoughtfull—that’s a whole area of design which we could really use more in design. So often, good designers or good designs are excluded from this kind of infrastructure. They did some very creative engineering too. This feels like Long Beach. You can imagine the vibrant activity and use of this bridge in its context. It’s nice to see this much creativity stemming from the standard infrastructural template.

Typology: Commercial/Mixed-Use

WE3 at Water’s Edge
Playa Vista, CA
Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA | SPF:architects
Photo: Mike Kelley
They really use the pragmatic concerns of shading but maintaining views in a very rigorous way, and generate a real compelling aesthetic from it. It’s a very much oriented building. The elevations are reflecting their orientation and they’re making the design of it out in a really wonderful way. The approach to the facade is very successful: it feels considered, rigorous and systematic. Both sides relate and contribute to the whole while also differentiating from each other. The primary facades are also responsive to the building’s orientation.

Typology: Educational

Harvey Mudd College, Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center
Claremont, CA
Steinberg Hart
Photo: Benny Chan
One of the most successful parts of this project is how it negotiates its site to break open the campus and to create a new means of entry. The building gathers people in through the really large, welcoming stairs at the entry. The massing and geometry of the building inflects to open up and allow the passage through without becoming overly articulated. This would have been an easy building to do too much [to]. It’s restrained, and has a narrative which makes it work. The solid panels are a really great way to not do an all glass building. They came up with a great solution with this very unified but random profile system, which is impressive and creative. Because: the best way to shade glass, is to not have it.

Health Sciences Innovation Building
Tucson, Arizona
CO Architects
Photo: Timmerman Photography Inc
It has a great orientation strategy responding to the various directions this facade is facing but it’s doing it in a way that’s exuberant but organized. The building uses the strategy of the loft and the porch to successfully break down the scale of a fairly large building. It’s effectively done here with the juxtaposition between those two parts — rather than a melding of complexity, the loft and the porch are very complementary to each other. The building is materially rich with a high level of resolution at the macro and micro level, both at the exterior and also with complex interior spaces and finishes.

Camp Lakota
Frazier Park, California
Photo: Here and Now Agency – Paul Vu
It’s completely appropriate that a campsite like this would embrace passive strategies. It’s nice to see that they delivered on that. The jury loves the reinvention of the typical cabin or the tent with this little A frame for the individual cabins. The project is very nicely detailed, using really simple materials, and SIPS for their performance characteristics. This is a very successful new cabin prototype. Mass timber floor system is a great use. It is pretty and really simple. It looks like a really nice place to hang out.

Katz Family Pavilion for Athletics and Culture
Los Angeles, CA
Lehrer Architects LA
Photo: Benny Chan
A fantastic connection to the landscaping, which is really wonderful in this sort of facility. Really incredibly flexibility and uses strategies that go beyond simple calculation of energy use per square foot into making a really comfortable space in a truly indoor/outdoor southern California way. This pavilion successfully creates one of the most coveted spaces on a university campus—the large, column free, flexible environment. Passive strategies are on display with the indoor/outdoor spaces the pavilion offers.

Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center
Los Angeles, CA
AUX Architecture
Photo: Nic Lehoux
It has a sense of dignity, but at the same time it’s almost a civic scale. It’s really a very effective almost monumental building, while being modest at the same time. This is a surgical addition that reinvents the relationship of the existing building to its campus context. In turn, it transforms the experience of the overall building and theater. The building is carefully considered, with a facade that is compositionally very strong within a restrained set of materials and moves.

Typology: Healthcare/Institutional/Civic

Qaumajuq, the Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc
Photo: Lindsay Reid
The extruded building form is really sublime. It’s really gorgeous. It’s clear that it softens and makes it a more welcoming kind of building on this tricky site, very effectively through contrast and opacity. Having that transparency at street level invites people to come into the Interior.

The City of Hope Medical and Administrative Leadership Pavilion
Duarte | Irwindale, California
Photo: Fotoworks, Benny Chan
It’s really nice to see a project like this embrace exterior unconditioned circulation space and integrate it with the building with these fins and screening of the facade. Makes a super clear circulation diagram. They’re taking the shading and they are making this open air passage. It’s just really quite beautiful.

SoFi Stadium and Entertainment District at Hollywood Park
Inglewood, California
Photo: Kevin Korczyk
Over the top glam project that it feels like it breaks new ground, in this topology and this sort of sports architecture. This looks like a shelter and stadium where you want to be—like a good place to go. So often the cover stadiums are claustrophobic, and this really has this great feel about it of festivity and celebration and lightness. The success of this project is the roof, which really stretches over the stadium proper and engages its surroundings and landscape. It really feels like the building welcomes people to it and softens the approach to the stadium, in part also because it’s providing shelter and shade over a larger territory on the site. The building is also integrated with the landscape strategies surrounding it, so it feels very pedestrian oriented, which is nice.

Typology: Installations

The Carapace Pavilion
Joshua Tree, California
CLIPPER Lab and Studio, USC School of Architecture
Photo: Douglas Noble, PhD, FAIA, USC School of Architecture
It’s taking a very simple thing, which is a shade structure and making it into something that feels almost ritualistic and wonderful with the way it sits on the land. It’s really elevating that simple shade structure; Joshua Tree is a place you want to be in the shade. The pavilion has both simplicity, and playfulness with its perforation and its own shape and geometry. The practicality of knowing it can be fabricated off-site and delivered and assembled all in one day is impressive. All of these attributes transcend its simplicity in a good way.

Typology: Interior Architecture

Vienna, VA
Arshia Architects
Photo: Marco Petrini
Combines amazing feeling of purity and sleekness, but at the same time it feels warm. When you go to the dentist you don’t need to be challenged too much, you want to relax before they start doing things to you. It feels serene. It feels calming. You feel like this really creates an environment of relaxation, almost like you’re going to the spa. It really is surprising for this type of clinic, but very well detailed. The interior environment really elevates the experience of visiting this space.

Intelligentsia Coffeeshop Hollywood
Hollywood, California
Standard Architecture | Design
Photo: Fotoworks, Benny Chan
The way they’ve connected this very simple typical LA strip architecture and connected to the history of the site and made it this really wonderful space, which has a transition from outside to inside. Very well done. The celebration of color with the tile, the mosaic and the vaulted ceiling is a really nice surprise at the entry, compared to what you imagine from the street. It’s really transformative for the Interior of the project.

Typology: Single-Family Residential

Mar Vista Residence
Los Angeles, CA
Woods + Dangaran
Photo: Joe Fletcher
It’s just a beautiful translucent place. It’s permeable and the idea is air goes through it. It’s minimal, but warm. Interweaving these like courts and just gorgeous. The garden is beautiful, low water intensity, but a gorgeous piece that you move through. Effortless, and this is achieved with great effort. It’s great to see the massing strategies bring daylight in with this carving of space and these indoor/outdoor relationships. The cladding strategy also brings daylight in and while providing shading. There is an integration of solid walls with the screen surfaces that unifies the expression of the house in a really successful way.

C-Glass House
Marin, CA
deegan day design architecture
Photo: Taiyo Watanabe
Being off the grid and having this really modest scale–this is a very pristine landscape where it is, and it floats out of it effortlessly. It has to be modest in its needs because it’s providing all its own energy. The jury would love to see more houses of this type that are off the grid, in a single-family residential category. This project combines that environmentally appropriate approach with really thoughtful and well executed detailing with the pavilion like structure.

Hermosa Beach, CA
XTEN Architecture
Photo: Art Gray Photography
It’s refreshing to see this scale of house, a very typical southern California typology, embracing rigorously the simplicity of this diagram in many ways. It has a strong relationship between the three levels and the horizon line. It’s very successfully executed, with a lot of restraint balanced with the creation of very warm and inviting spaces in the interior.

Typology: Temporary Shelter

Chandler Tiny Homes Village for the Homeless
North Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
Lehrer Architects LA
Photo: Lehrer Architects LA & Sky Ladder Drones
One of the positives of the village is the access to daylight and the outdoors and creating sense of autonomy within the community. This project is also really impressive because it was designed and erected very quickly, obviously addressing a challenging need, not just in Los Angeles but in many cities. It’s obviously replicable and it’s really elevated beyond many of the tiny home villages which. You want to make them more engaging to the general public, so that they are not viewed as something that they want to get rid of. This really helps that.

The Lotus
Los Angeles, California, USA
Photo: Nico Marques
The jury appreciate this approach, taking the manufacturing building all under one roof and, with one kind of infrastructural system, accommodating a significant number of housing units, plus the kind of medical services component. It’s really impressive. It strikes the right balance of playfulness with its interior roofline that breaks down the scale of the shed to the scale of the human in a way that’s appropriate. It feels well oriented in this space. The use of color and graphics helps with a sense of orientation to create a real sense of place at the interior. This Is important in a warehouse structure, which can be disorienting due to less access to daylight.

(listed by typology, then award level – Honor being highest)

Typology: Affordable Housing

Sage Gardens
Sacramento, CA
Photo: ANX
This complex displays the infinite possibilities for modularity. The modular units are not limited to the confines of the built structures but extend to the green spaces beyond. The seniors for whom these units are designed can enjoy the benefits of indoor/outdoor living for both social engagement with their neighbors as well as easy access to outdoor exercise options. Creating a park-like setting, this senior’s housing project has been properly investigated. Its understanding of the elements that create space that helps people dwell well was demonstrated in natural light and shade patterns that lift up the interior and exterior environments.

Typology: Cityscapes

Destination Crenshaw
Los Angeles, California
The design solutions for invigorating a street and a neighborhood have been meticulously crafted. The integration of public life with public art and urban landscaping succeeded in doing more than the ordinary, the familiar. What we have is a bold contribution to a neighborhood that is revivifying its roots. This is a civic investment in urban mobility, commercial revival, and social consciousness. The architects created an urban streetscape and outdoor museum that can have immediate positive impact but can grow and prosper into the future.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum Master Plan
Los Angeles, California, USA
The proposed design of Hancock Park takes the unique park’s features and museum settings and offers a big move that brings you closer to this fantastic public space. The pedestrian loop offers a truly new way to experience the park. Altering the Page Museum so that it can offer park-goers a glimpse of the research being done beneath the earth is a well-achieved addition.

Hollywood Walk of Fame
Los Angeles, California, USA
Photo: Brett Ribeneck, Shimahara Visual
Using subtle but strategic intervention, this design transforms an often overcrowded walk into a cohesive streetscape. The sleek amenity modules refer back to the materials of the historic star inlays while creating a platform for performance, dining, playing or resting. With the ‘more space for people’ created by the widened sidewalks and enhanced bus stops, to name just a few of the proposed improvements, the overall effect is a safe and engaging community space. The project master plan addresses the micro and macro design elements that are essential to creating a civic boulevard that lives up to its famous history. The attention paid to the many decorative and programmatic design elements produces a tapestry of social engagement.

Typology: Commercial/Mixed-Use

Project Name: Las Palmas Modular
Location: Hollywood, CA, USA
Steinberg Hart
What a beautiful celebration of the possibilities of modularity! The protrusion of the balcony volumes along the facade allow the residents to straddle private and public space. It celebrates engagement with urban space in a new vision for a denser LA. The beauty of the blurring of borders extends to the negative spaces, where the modules drop out, creating multiple possibilities for green terraces.

Typology: Educational

The Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech
Pasadena, CA
Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign
Photo: Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign
The wonderful undulating skin of this building is stunning. In the daytime or at night, the building is a beacon for the innovative, sustainable technology being explored within. The responsive skin shapes dynamic, light-filled social spaces, along with the primary circulation, at the perimeter of the building. This is truly an engaging space sponsoring cross-disciplinary collaboration. This beautiful building is packed with sustainable features. The floor plans are designed to provide flexibility for future engagement of scientists and engineers. The use of CLT as a structural and humanizing material addresses the need to create inspiring work environments.

Westmark School Lower School
Encino, CA
This project creates an optimized learning environment anchored around the wonderful move of centering the new buildings around a courtyard with a beautiful tree at its center. This seemingly simple move creates an intimate relationship between each of the buildings and the courtyard. The result is an indoor/outdoor environment with prime daylight, air quality shaded outdoor space and flexibility.

UCSD Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood
La Jolla, CA
HKS & Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects
The beauty of this project lies in the key design strategy of maximizing the benefits of the proximity to the ocean. The intent is carried through from the siting of the towers within the complex, allowing the ocean breezes to pass through, to the saw-toothed skin that increases the natural ventilation and the opportunities for ocean views. The students will enjoy beautifully integrated community spaces, both inside and outside, promoting mental health.

San Jose City College, Career Education Complex
San Jose, CA, USA
Steinberg Hart
This project not only has a breathtaking exterior presence, but also a dynamic relationship between interior spaces of different sizes and program. The multi-level interior spaces are the stars of this project, especially those that open up to the sky with green spaces at the heart of the building.

Cajon High School
San Bernardino, CA, USA
The undulating roof plays so many roles in this project beyond its stunning expression. It captures learning spaces, social spaces and exterior unprogrammed spaces all under one open-air roof. It captures rainwater and seamlessly integrates a photovoltaic skin. The use of wood both as structural components and as finish materials flow wonderfully down from the mass timber at the ceiling through to the dynamic spaces below.

Typology: Healthcare/Institutional/Civic

Guadalajara Airport Terminal 2
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
This project beautifully and successfully uses the inspiration of the Mexican eagle to create spaces in this airport that are appropriately grand while gathering the different spaces of arrival, waiting and departure under the form of the ‘eagle’s wings’. The section shows the landscape being drawn from the outside in, and the undulating roof performing the duties of shading, energy harvesting and air circulation.

Typology: Multi-Unit Residential

Mammoth Lakes Affordable Housing
Mammoth Lakes, CA
kevin daly Architects
Rendering: kevin daly Architects
First, credit for reusing existing buildings for work-force housing. This adaptive-reuse residential apartment building masterfully reuses the existing buildings. The floor plans are well laid out and evoke the vernacular of mountain resort lodges. The slightly different building “wraps” present a unified campus.

Sub/Merge & Hidden Gardens
Los Angeles, CA
The project provides a workable site plan that achieves a balance between building and open space in a standard 50×150 LA residential lot. The use of materials and the composition of windows affords buildings the opportunity to provide natural lighting from multiple directions while still ensuring visual privacy. The material selection and the special arrangement takes maximum advantage of the increased density without sacrificing landscape opportunities. The architectural style and scale would be contextually compatible with most single-family residential neighborhoods.

Typology: Single Family Residential

Almost Famous
Los Angeles, California
Yu2e, Inc.
Photographer: N/A
This hillside residential house does an excellent job of executing a stripped-down modern ranch-style house. It’s always inspiring to see architects re-imagine the residential vernacular of Southern California. The site planning respects the natural topography of the site, resulting in less grading and excavation. The program inclusion of an ADU addresses the housing shortage in Southern California.

Los Osos Grandma’s House
Los Osos, California
Nabi Boyd
One reason this project is significant is its generational social structure. It speaks to new challenges in this society and finds beautiful ways to address them. Intergenerational living — living with extended family — is a new building typology that is being re-investigated. The need for privacy but also proximity to our beloveds encourages a strong emotional bond. The house is a gem regarding its understated yet poetic floor plan. The architects listened to their client and were able to create spatial architectural features from a few creative moves.

Badwood Ranch
Pioneertown, California, USA
Michael Matthews Studio
Working with a strict budget of $300K, the architects were able to get creative in the purchasing of new and used building materials. This design is crafted for the desert environment, starting with the building’s trellis that reduces heat gain on the building. Other passive features include heavily insulated walls with deep inset windows. The floor plan design “Y” configuration and multiple window placement provides numerous views of the desert scenery.

About the Design Awards
The AIALA Design Awards program considers entries in the AIALA Design Awards and NEXT LA Awards categories. The first, the namesake AIALA Design Awards, recognizes the design excellence of some of the most significant completed projects in the country at this time. Unbuilt or are still-to-be-completed-commissions are considered and awarded through the AIALA Next LA awards program.
Completed projects, located anywhere, that are designed by AIA members from firms based in the Los Angeles area, and architecture constructed in Los Angeles by any AIA member, no matter their base of operations, are eligible for submission for Design Awards entry.

To view the entire slate of entries to all 2021 AIA|LA Design Awards categories, visit Pinterest:
Design Awards:
Next LA Awards:

The 2021 AIA|LA Design Awards are sponsored by:

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— End —


Tibby Rothman, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Marketing and Public Relations
p: 213-639-0763