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Seven Tips for Winning a Palladio Award

A guide to bringing home your very own Palladio Award
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Having been a Palladio juror on a number of occasions, I’ve noted that all winning entries have several elements in common. So I’m passing some of these observations along, tips, really, that can enhance your chances of winning one of these coveted awards.

The benefits that flow from winning a Palladio are obvious. First are the bragging rights; the Palladio Awards are still the only national architectural competition that honors projects for excellence in traditional design. So winning one is a big deal, with a lot of prestige and publicity spinoff potential. The handsome bronze Palladio trophy on your office awards shelf proclaims your achievement for years to come. And even if you don’t win one of the top awards, there’s a good chance your project will be published in Traditional Building or Period Homes magazine sometime during the next 12 months. Because Palladio Award submissions represent the best of today’s traditional design, when the editors of Traditional Building and Period Homes are looking for projects to feature throughout the year, they often turn first to Palladio entries that were excellent – but didn’t happen to walk off with a top prize.

Seven things you can do to improve your chances of winning a Palladio Award:

1. Good photos are essential. Jurors are only human, and when there are a lot of projects to evaluate, their attention is more like to be captured by submissions with clear, striking photographs.

2. Big, full-page images are best, rather than multiple images crammed on a single page.

3. On renovation and restoration projects, obviously before-and-after photos are important. Sometimes the before pictures are lousy – and that’s O.K. because often you are not in control of the before photos. Just make sure the after photos are outstanding.

4. Photo captions should not be just terse labels. Rather, captions should be informative and direct readers to special features they should be looking for in the photo. Pointing things out with captions is important because jurors do spend a lot of time with the images.

5. Site plans and floor plans are always very helpful.

6. When projects involve additions, renovations or both, the photos, plans and captions should make it very clearwhat is old original work and what is your new work.

7. Text covering unusual features and design challenges should be crisp and concise; jurors don’t have time to swoon over poetical language. Emphasize the specific things you did on the project that you’re most proud of.

These tips may seem self evident. But I’ve personally seen too many submissions that ignored several of these points, and otherwise good projects got less attention than they should have received.

So keep these seven pointers in mind when you download the Palladio application forms. It’ll greatly enhance your chances of being on the receiving end when the editors hand out the Palladio trophies at the next awards dinner.

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