Napkin Sketch Contest

The Virginia Design Forum XIV: In Praise of Shadows will take place next month in Richmond (27-28 MAR) and AIA Blue Ridge is sponsoring a napkin sketch contest to give away (1) free Professional entry** as well as (1) free Student entry**. 

The event features an international roster of talented practitioners, including Steven Holl, FAIA, and Kirsten Murray, FAIA of Olson Kundig, and will be held in the recently opened Institute for Contemporary Art.

This is your chance to close down Revit and put away the mouse in favor of your favorite fountain pen (which misses you, by the way). Show us what you’ve got!  Not sure where to start – here is some inspiration.


  • all AIA Blue Ridge members
  • current undergraduate and graduate architecture students


  • Friday, 06 MARCH, 5pm – deadline to submit sketches online
  • Friday, 13 MARCH, 5pm – winners notified
  • Friday / Saturday, 27 & 28 MARCH – Design Forum XIV in Richmond, VA


  • you may submit up to (3) entries
  • drawings should be on a white cocktail napkin using a medium of your choice
  • your drawings should relate to this year’s theme:

    Junichiro Tanizaki, in his book In Praise of Shadows writes, ‘In darkness, immutable tranquility holds sway.’ Designers integrate this interplay of light, color, and shadow in the spaces they imagine — navigating the clarity that light brings alongside the ephemeral mystery of the shadows. Inspired by this 73-page homage to ‘well-placed darkness,’ the fourteenth biennial Virginia Design Forum: In Praise of Shadows embraces this theme through an exploration of craft and materiality.”
  • scan your drawing as a JPG at 300 DPI and submit online
  • entries will remain anonymous for judging by Architecture + Design faculty from Virginia Tech

** award covers entry fee only, winners are responsible for their own travel arrangements + expenses

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