Montgomery Planning to Hold 2023 Design Excellence Awards to Recognize Exceptional Building, Urban Design, Landscapes, and Housing

by MCS Staff

Developers, architects, and property owners invited to submit top quality, completed designs in Montgomery County; Submission deadline is July 17, 2023

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), will hold the sixth Design Excellence Awards on October 19, 2023, honoring the most outstanding works in architecture and urban design that make a difference in people’s lives and represent Montgomery County’s highest quality of design to the region, state, and nation. Entries will be accepted starting Monday, May 22, 2023. The deadline for submission is Thursday, July 17, 2023. The selection of the two winners, one for buildings, sites, and/or urbanism and one for exceptional housing, will be made by an outside independent jury with expertise in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning and urban design selected by Montgomery Planning.

The biennial awards ceremony will be held at Celebrate Design 2023, co-hosted by the AIA Potomac Valley Chapter. The community is invited to attend this exciting ticketed regional event, which will also honor recipients of the AIA Potomac Valley Chapter’s Excellence in Design Awards.

“High-quality designs that support a vibrant public realm create deeper connections to the world around us and enhance Montgomery County’s sense of community, history, and equity. This intimate link between architecture and the environment around it helps to create excellent places to live, work and play,” said Design Excellence project manager Paul Mortensen. “We have been raising the bar over the last decade when it comes to the physical design of Montgomery County. As the quality of design continues to improve, I can’t wait to see who the independent jury will recognize this year.”

The two winning projects and possible additional jury citations will demonstrate the essential qualities of outstanding walkable, sustainable places at the scale of the neighborhood, block and/or building. They should be integral to the surrounding public realm of the pedestrian, bike, and street networks and should be the buildings and places that people love. Both award winners will illustrate how great design contributes to the community in terms of character, identity, and economic value. These awards provide the opportunity for the winning projects to be seen widely, particularly in business and professional settings where the best qualities of Montgomery County are promoted.

2023 Design Excellence Awards Jury: The jury is composed of accomplished and highly regarded practitioners in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, planning and urban design. How to Apply: Projects eligible for the 2023 Design Excellence Awards include both private and public structures and spaces located within Montgomery County that were built within the past 10 years and are currently occupied and in use.  Entries for the housing category should be apartment, condominium, or townhouse buildings; single-family detached houses are ineligible for submission. Entries will be accepted starting Monday, May 22, 2023. The deadline for submission is Thursday, July 17, 2023, at

Learn more about the Montgomery Planning’s Design Excellence initiative. Review the 2021 Design Excellence Awardwinners and jury citations.

Celebrate Design 2023: The Celebrate Design 2023 event will be held on Thursday, October 19, 2023 at M-NCPPC’s Wheaton Headquarters, the first government-owned building in Maryland to receive the LEED Platinum certification for its innovative, environmentally friendly design. In previous years, this event has brought together urban designers, architects, landscape architects, planners, developers, builders, policymakers, elected officials, design professionals, artists and interested community members from across Montgomery County and the region.

Tickets are expected to go on sale for the October event in September. For more information, contact Paul Mortensen at or 301-495-4523.


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