The ACUI Facility Design Awards were created to encourage and recognize excellence in the design of student-centered facilities that support campus community building and student learning.


The review process includes, but is not limited to, an assessment of the criteria listed below. The nominee must:

  • Describe connections with the community, campus, and environment in which the project sits.
  • Detail the planning and design process, including how the use of creative materials, input from students, and inclusion of partners shaped the project and its goals.
  • Highlight the work and materials to differentiate the project from other entries.
  • Emphasize usage and people in photos, specifically illustrating:
    • Use of building by the community
    • 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  


Architects for college union or campus life facility projects built anywhere in the world are eligible to apply for these awards. Projects must:

  • Have been completed, occupied, and in service prior to entry.
  • Have been completed since Dec. 1, 2014.
  • Have not been submitted more than three times for the award.
  • Have not previously won an ACUI Facility Design Award.



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.


Submissions for the 2018 Facility Design Awards are due December 8, 2017. For more information, please contact

Apply Now


Entry Fee

  • First Submission: $675 (Members); $1,450 (Nonmembers)
  • Each Additional Entry: $625 (Members); $1,400 (Nonmembers)

Fees include one 8' space in the Architecture and Design Showcase for firms registered for the ACUI Expo at the Annual Conference. No entry fees will be refunded for entries or participation in the Architecture and Design Showcase that do not materialize.  

Recent Facility Design Award Winners

For a list of all past winners, please contact

  • WTW Architects, Student Center, Wayne State University
  • VMDO Architects, Rollins Campus Center+Zell and Shirley Miller Library, Young Harris College
  • Moody Nolan, Donald Julian Reaves, Winston-Salem University
  • CannonDesign, Reitz Student Center, University of Florida
  • Perkins+Will, University Union, University of North Texas 
  • Bruner/Cott Architects and Planners, Powerhouse Student Event Space, Amherst College
  • DiMella Shaffer, Hammond Hall, Fitchburg State University
  • Duda|Paine Architects, MHTN, and Cooper Carry, Talley Student Union, North Carolina State University
  • Perkins+Will, Wood Center, University of Alaska-Fairbanks
  • VMDO Architects, Chesapeake Student Center, Tidewater Community College-Chesapeake
  • Hornberger + Worstell, University Student Union. California State University–San Marcos
  • KSS Architects, Thomas Commons, Cornell College
  • Mackey Mitchell Architects, Charger Union, University of Alabama–Huntsville
  • Moody Nolan, France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center, Purdue University
  • Perkins+Will, Lory Student Center, Colorado State University