Judging is conducted by an expert panel of 55+ industry professionals from across the country representing expertise in development, architecture, universal design and aging-in-place, marketing, interior design and lifestyle. Judges may designate finalists and winners in any or all categories.

Awards may not be given in a category if entries submitted do not meet the criteria below. Judges also have the discretion to expand a category or create a new category. Each entry is judged on its own merits, based on the information provided by the applicant in the official entry.


  • Projects must be completed in the two years prior to the application deadline of Aug. 16, 2019.
  • On the Boards projects must be designed on or after Jan. 1, 2018.
  • Projects must be completed between Jan. 1, 2017 and Aug. 16, 2019.
  • Do not include identifying information in the application materials. Awards are judged anonymously.
  • Exception: Builder or Associate of the Year, One to Watch and Marketing and Lifestyle awards

55+ COMMUNITY (Category 1-7)

  • Exterior Home Design/Curb Appeal
  • Design Concept
  • Community Impact
  • Sales/Leasing Activity
  • Site Plan Creativity
  • Site Characteristics
  • Amenities
  • Financials (Cat 5)
  • Completeness of application

55+ SINGLE-FAMILY (Category 8-13)

  • Exterior Home Design/Curb Appeal
  • Interior Design/Interior Architecture
  • Design Concept
  • Success in the Marketplace
  • Floor Plan
  • Site Plan
  • Completeness of application

55+ SPECIALTY (Category 14-22)

  • Overall Design Concept
  • Functional Strengths
  • Creative & Innovative Product & Material Applications
  • Universal Design (Cat 15)
  • Sales/Leasing Activity (Cat 18-19)
  • Design/Environment, Impact/Challenges (Cat 22)
  • Completeness of application

55+ INTERIOR DESIGN (Category 23-26)

  • Interior Design/Interior Architecture
  • Floor Plan
  • Functional Strengths
  • Overall Design & Execution of Creative Strategy - Flow, Aesthetics and Appeal
  • Creative & Innovative Product & Material Applications
  • Completeness of application

55+ ON THE BOARDS (Category 27-33)

  • Judging criteria will be the same as the category for the built counterpart.

55+ MARKETING and LIFESTYLE (Category 34-42)

  • Elements & Strategies
  • Creativity & Appeal
  • Target Market & Consumer Receptiveness
  • Website Functions
  • Images/Graphics
  • Benefits/Impact on Residents
  • Success
  • Completeness of application

55+ INDIVIDUAL (Category 43-46)

  • Overall quality of projects developed during the past “three” years—with emphasis on doing the “year’s best work”
  • Success in achieving the company’s visions and goals
  • Innovation, innovative development strategies and/or design practices and ability to overcome obstacles
  • Leadership qualities/leadership development or career progress
  • Industry involvement (Cat 46)
  • Commitment to residents (Cat 36)
  • Financial performance
  • Overall excellence in 55+ housing development or industry
  • Completeness of application


  • Gold winners in the 55+ community design categories under the 55+ Architectural Design group are automatically nominated for the 55+ Community of the Year Award providing the 55+ community meets the criteria. To qualify for this prestigious award, be sure to also enter your community design project into a 55+ Marketing and 55+ Lifestyle category.