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. Participants should rethink the innovative potential of masonry construction by exploring approaches to energy efficiency, resiliency, sustainability, and mass customization. Use of BIM, computational design, and emerging construction and manufacturing techniques is also encouraged. All designs must incorporate one or more of the following materials: brick, concrete block, tile, marble, terrazzo, stone, and plaster. Solutions should address both the aesthetic and structural nature of masonry assembly. The proposed project could be a building; exterior building element such as a wall, floor, or roof assembly; or other concept construction. The competition invites creative freedom to allow designers to innovate without restraint.

See the winners of the inaugural competition.

Registration for the 2nd annual competition will open in 2018. Stay tuned for more 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 Miami, Florida. Travel and accommodations to Miami 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



Participants have the opportunity to get their idea in front of a prestigious panel of renowned architects and leaders in the masonry design and construction industry.

Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, CCM, LEED AP

Architect of the Capitol

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

Senior Director of Business Development at Michael Graves Architecture & Design

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%)

Submission Requirements & How to Enter

To enter the competition, participants are required to register online. The process is quick and easy: we only collect basic contact information at the time of registration. There are no registration or submission entry fees.

Projects must be submitted electronically following the instructions outlined in the competition brief. Submissions must include:

  • Two boards with the project information including plans, sections, details, and 3D images
  • 3D PDF file of the BIM design
  • 1 video of design in AVI format (max. 2 min.)
  • Project statement (max 600 words)
  • Complete participant information, including name, profession, mailing address, and email of each team member or individual

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

Key Competition Dates

Registration and submission deadlines for the 2nd annual JBC Competition will be announced in 2018.

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