Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance

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Certificate Design Competition 2021 Award Categories Selection Criteria About the Awards Sponsorship 2020 Award Winners

Certificate Design Competition

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

The annual certificate design competition has started—submit a portfolio today to Carter Pettibone for the chance to design this year’s certificate. The deadline for portfolio submissions is Friday, October 22 at 5:00 p.m. 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 Designers for details, submission requirements, and timeline. Must be 18 years of age or older and live, work, or go to school in Wake County to apply.

If selected, designers should keep in mind the final certificate design will need to include a visual interpretation of Sir Walter Raleigh. Creativity is encouraged!

We are greatly looking forward to hosting the 39th Sir Walter Raleigh Awards this year and celebrating design excellence in our city. As we continue living through unprecedented times, we have not set a date yet for the 2021 ceremony. While we still will be celebrating as a community, the event will likely look different than it has in past years.

2021 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 by the awards jury 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.

For 2021, the Appearance Commission is planning for an awards ceremony in December. Stay tuned for more information about the event.


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

2020 Award Winners

The City of Raleigh Appearance Commission hosted its 38th annual Sir Walter Raleigh Awards for Community Appearance virtually this year to safely celebrate the 2020 winners. Though the full experience of the celebration was certainly missed, the Appearance Commission was glad for the opportunity to collaborate with winners and find creative ways to bring the ceremony online.

Join us in celebrating the 2020 award winners!

2020 Sir Walter Raleigh Award Winners:
  • Gateway Plaza Renovation
  • WRAL New Media Group Addition

Community Impact:
  • Southeast Raleigh YMCA + Elementary School

  • Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School Great Hall Renovations

Landscape Design:
  • Moore Square Renovations

Public Facilities:
  • GO[shelter]

Public Spaces:
  • Moore Square Renovations

Rehabilitation / Historic Preservation:
  • Historic Graves-Fields and Hall Houses
  • Longleaf Hotel & Lounge

  • Clark Townhomes

The 2020 Award:
  • The Raleigh Tee

The Jury’s Choice Award:
  • Southeast Raleigh YMCA + Elementary School



Carter Pettibone

Planning and Development
Service Categories:
Boards and Commissions
Board, Commission or Committee:
Appearance Commission



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