The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design

Chicago's vitality and energy can be attributed to many things: its location, its economy, its history, and its civic and corporate leadership. One factor that stands tall among all others is the preeminence of the city's architecture and cityscape design.

A grand vision coupled with excellent craftsmanship resulted in the greystones, brownstones, bungalows, warehouses and commercial buildings that arose to meet the demands of a growing city. The parks and parkways-built to connect the neighborhoods to the city's core-expressed a spirit of possibility and greatness. These structures and spaces have been the building blocks of the city, both as it grew and as it was revitalized.

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design was established to recognize the importance of great architecture and craftsmanship to city life. The recipients: architects and project sponsors who, through restoration or new construction, have created buildings and spaces that enhance Chicago's neighborhoods. The goal: to encourage tomorrow's builders to honor and emulate those architects and builders who made Chicago what it is today. The impact: an even more beautiful city with neighborhoods that are home to all of Chicago's citizens.

Project Eligibility

To be eligible a development must:

  • be located in Cook County;
  • serve a predominantly low- moderate income population AND/OR be located in a predominantly low- to moderate-income neighborhood; 
  • be completed and in-use upon submission of application; and
  • have been completed within the last five years.

Selection Criteria

The Richard H. Driehaus Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design aims to recognize the architect of projects that:

  • Demonstrate superior design quality responsive to the neighborhood context and the constraints imposed by funding and regulatory agencies;
  • Successfully respond to the needs of the population served;
  • Enhance the overall development of the local community; and
  • Exhibit a creative design solution that could become a model for projects in other neighborhoods.

Award amount: $15,000 to the top recipient and $3,000 and $2,000, respectively to the runners-up.

Award recipient: The Award will be given to the architect of record.

Award presentation date: The Award is presented as part of the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards event to be held June 2024. 

Selection Process

Award Finalists will be notified by Feb 10, 2024, and scheduled for a 45-minute in-person site visit with the Jury to be scheduled for Feb 23, 2024. Winners will be selected and notified by the end of February 2024.

An independent group of judges review nominees and select winners. Awards will not necessarily be made each year, but will depend on the quality and responsiveness of the developments recommended for consideration.

Submission Deadline

The application deadline is Jan 23, 2024.