Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance

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2020 Sir Walter Raleigh Award Nominations are Now Open! 2020 Award Categories Selection Criteria About the Awards Sponsorship

Calling All Artists for the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards Certificate Design Competition!

Deadline Extended for Certificate Design Competition!

The deadline for the Sir Walter Raleigh Awards Certificate Design competition has been extended to this Friday, October 2! Submit a portfolio of five work samples and a resume today to to be considered. Three finalists will be paid $150 to create a design, and the winner will be awarded $1,000 and be recognized at our ceremony this winter. View the Call for Artists for details, submission requirements, and timeline. Must be 18 or older and live, work, or go to school in Wake County to apply.

We are greatly looking forward to hosting the 38th Sir Walter Raleigh Awards this fall and celebrating design excellence in our city. As we are living through unprecedented times, we have not set a date yet for the 2020 ceremony. While we still will be celebrating as a community, the event will likely look different than it has in past years.

2020 Sir Walter Raleigh Award Nominations are Now Open!

Award Nominations:
Now is your chance to recognize individuals and projects that have contributed excellent design to our city. Nominations are now being accepted and will close on Monday, September 28 at 5:00 p.m. Anyone can submit nominations through a quick and easy submittal process.

Electronic Nominations:
1. Complete the Nomination Web Form.
2. Prepare a minimum of ten (10) digital photos in a ZIP file of the project/individual to submit in the attachment section of the nomination web form.
3. Please contact Rotonda McKoy with any questions.

Mail Nominations:
Complete steps 1. & 2. above, print and mail to:

Raleigh Appearance Commission
Raleigh Department of City Planning
City of Raleigh
PO Box 590
Raleigh, NC 27602

IMPORTANT: Please remember to rename your Nomination Form with the project name prior to electronic submittal or the file will not be accepted.

Individuals or groups nominated for a Sir Walter Raleigh Award must be residents or maintain an established location in the City of Raleigh. All other nominees, programs, or projects must be located in the City of Raleigh or its planning jurisdiction. All projects must be substantially complete within the last five years prior to submission, except the "Community Impact" category, which honors commitment by individuals and groups to improving Raleigh's quality of life through design. Projects still under construction are not yet eligible.

2020 Award Categories


Awards for this category are given for new residential development, conversion to residential use, or improvement made to existing residential areas. The entry may be for either multi-family developments or single-family developments of multiple buildings.


Awards in this category are presented for all types of new retail, office construction, or adaptive use and may include industrial, warehouse, or corporate projects that have a positive impact on the city's visual environment.

Rehabilitation/Historic Preservation

Awards in this category are given for preservation or rehabilitation of existing buildings, especially Raleigh's historic resources.

Public Facilities

Awards in this category are for local, state, and federal projects including office, and transportation-related facilities.

Public Spaces

Awards in this category are given for projects which enhance the appearance and livability of public areas of the City, including parks, streets, neighborhoods, and churches.

Landscape Design

Awards in this category are for projects that exemplify an integrated approach to resource conservation, respect for existing features of the site, and/or significantly preserve Raleigh's natural features and trees, including exemplary design of utilitarian site elements transformed into public amenities.

Community Impact

Awards in this category are given for groups or individuals who have created and implemented projects of any scale that enrich the quality of life in Raleigh through design.


Awards in this category are for education-related facilities at any level of instruction, including pre-school, elementary, middle, high school, college, or continuing education.

Awards are made based on project merit, as determined by the selection criteria. Awards are not necessarily made in every category, nor are there a predetermined number of awards in a category in any given year.

Selection Criteria

Entries are evaluated using the following general criteria:

  • Exhibition of a new standard of excellence, thereby providing an example for the future.
  • Demonstration of awareness of the importance of good stewardship of the land.
  • Demonstration of community involvement and innovation.
  • Preservation or restoration of existing topography, trees, and other natural features.
  • Significant improvement of an existing site or structure, and/ or preservation of important historic or cultural features.
  • Provision of attractive and safe conditions that meet and exceed requirements of applicable ordinances, policies, conservation areas, and designated historic districts and properties.
  • Integration of sustainable building principles, architecture expressive of how the project's green features function, and thoughtful conservation/ enhancement of existing features of the site and the surrounding community.

About the Awards

The Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance recognize outstanding new contributions to the character, environment and appearance of the City of Raleigh. Since 1983, the Raleigh City Council has presented more than 200 Sir Walter Raleigh Awards to developers, designers, building owners, community groups, civic clubs, churches and citizens.


Program Sponsorship Information - Contact Carter Pettibone if you are interested in becoming an event sponsor.



Carter Pettibone

Planning and Development
Board, Commission or Committee:
Appearance Commission

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