Competition Overview

The Joan B. Calambokidis Innovation in Masonry Competition (JBC Competition) challenges architects, engineers, students, and firms to imagine the future of masonry design and construction.

The goal of this year’s competition is to develop a high-rise building with a masonry envelope enclosure located in a major metropolitan area of the entrant’s/entrants’ choice. Solutions should explore the implementation of innovative masonry construction technologies and focus on building envelope performance with respect to constructability, energy, structure, and aesthetic considerations. Urban jobsite logistics for the selected major metropolitan area and sequencing should also be addressed.

Scale, size, program, and metropolitan location of the project are left to the participant. Open air fenestration screen walls are not recommended as solutions for this year’s competition. All designs must incorporate one or more of the following materials: brick, concrete block, tile, marble, terrazzo, stone, or plaster.

BIM, computational design plugins like Dynamo or Grasshopper, and emerging construction and manufacturing technologies should be used to develop solutions. Participants are highly encouraged to use BIM-M tools like the Masonry Unit Database and other plugins found at

View the competition brief for complete details!

Entry Categories & Prizes

The competition is open to:

  • Students enrolled in a design, architecture, or engineering program
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Architectural and Engineering Firms

Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged. There is no limit on the number of participants per team. Individual submissions are also permitted. Participants, whether individual or team, may only submit one entry.

3 grand prize winners will be awarded across 3 categories: students; young architects and engineers; and firms, multidisciplinary teams, and individual architects/engineers.

In addition to monetary prizes, winners may receive special publication and promotion opportunities, and will be honored during an awards ceremony in San Diego, California. Travel and accommodations to San Diego will be provided by the International Masonry Institute (IMI) for up to 2 individuals from each winning category.


$5,000 awarded to competitor
$5,000 granted to award winner's school/program

Young Architects & Engineers
(under 40)


Firms, Multidisciplinary Teams, Individual Architects/Engineers



Entries will be evaluated by a prestigious panel of renowned architects and leaders in the masonry design and construction industry.

James Boland

President of The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers & IMI Co-Chair

Stephen V. DeSimone, PE, LEED AP

President/Chief Executive of DeSimone Consulting Engineers

Alan Feltoon, AIA, AICP

Managing Principal, Alan Feltoon

Carlos Jiménez

Principal and Lead Designer, Carlos Jiménez Studi

Michael Schmerbeck

President of Back Brook Masonry & IMI Co-Chair

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to judge submissions:

  • Originality (30%)
  • Execution of idea (40%)
  • Potential for transforming the solution or idea into a new design or construction paradigm (30%)


To enter the competition, participants are required to register an account. The process is quick and easy: only basic contact information is collected and there is no cost to register. If entering as a team, please choose a team lead to register an account. After registering, the participant will receive an email asking to confirm his/her account by clicking the provided link. Participants must confirm their account to complete registration.

Register Now!


How to Submit

The online entry and submission system will open on October 1, 2018 (00:00 EST). Through the system, participants can start and save their entries in-progress and return at any time using the login created during registration.

Completed entries must be submitted by November 30, 2018 (23:59 EST). The submission system will automatically stop accepting entries after this time, and no extensions will be granted.


Participants are required to submit the following deliverables as a part of their entry:

  • Two digital presentation boards depicting your project. Include plans, sections, details, 3D images, and any other information needed to explain your design solution. Digital boards should be landscape-oriented at 24″(h) X 36″(w) and saved as JPEGs at 150 dpi resolution in RGB mode.
  • A video (2 minutes max.) featuring a fly-through of your design and/or an explanation of your solution. Accepted file formats: .mov, .m4v, .mp4, or .mpeg.
  • A project statement (600 words max.) that explains how your concept rethinks the innovative potential of masonry and addresses program requirements outlined in the competition brief.
  • Contact information, as requested during registration and on the entry form.
  • For Student Category Entrants Only: Proof of current enrollment in a design, architecture, or engineering program.

View the competition brief for detailed submission requirements (PDF).

Key Competition Dates

  • Registration opens: September 3, 2018 (00:00 EST)
  • Submission opens: October 1, 2018 (00:00 EST)
  • Submission deadline: November 30, 2018 (23:59 EST)
  • Winners notified: February 2019
  • Award ceremony/winners announced: March 2019

About Joan B. Calambokidis

Joan B. Calambokidis served as President of the International Masonry Institute (IMI) from 1995-2017. Her tenure was marked by multiple examples of masonry innovation, including the advancement of masonry training, education, research, and technical development. Joan’s unique approach to providing state-of-the-art training and education for craftworkers, contractors, and designers alike has helped foster the level of industry collaboration required to design and build great structures.

Masonry Variations, a National Building Museum exhibit co-sponsored by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers and the International Masonry Institute, exemplified Joan’s leadership in the area of masonry innovation. The exhibit featured works by 4 innovative architects, demonstrating the versatility of stone, terrazzo, brick and concrete. Joan was also responsible for the creation of Masonry Camp, a nationally-recognized program dedicated to building collaboration between designers and craftworkers. Her vision was instrumental in the development of IMI’s National Training Center, a multi-building campus that serves to educate thousands of craftworkers and designers annually.

Past Winners

Mashrabiya 2.0

Mashrabiya 2.0

Winning in the Young Architect Category, Mashrabiya 2.0 is a 3D-printed façade with cooling properties, submitted by Iowa State University faculty: Leslie Forehand, Lecturer of Architecture; Shelby Doyle, Assistant Professor of Architecture; Nick Senske, Assistant Professor of Architecture; and Erin Hunt, Computation and Construction Lab Associate. Watch the video!

Masonry Unit for Space Colonization

Masonry Unit for Space Colonization

Winning in the Architectural Firm Category, Anh Nguyen, LEED AP and Shawn Chinudomsub, AIA, NCARB, CCS, LEED AP of IDAS, Inc. conceived a hexagonal masonry unit suitable for building in space. Watch the video!

Alterable Brick Wall

Alterable Brick Wall

Winning in the Student Category, Chao Wei, a graduate student in Syracuse University’s Architecture program at the time of entering, created an alterable brick wall that uses passive design strategies to improve interior building conditions and save energy. Watch the video!

Help imagine the future of masonry design and construction


Questions should be submitted via email to