Registration and submission for the 2020 JBC Masonry Innovation Competition is now closed. Winners will be announced in March.

Competition Overview

The International Masonry Institute’s JBC Masonry Innovation Competition celebrates game-changing creativity and new ideas that have the power to propel growth within the industry. The competition challenges current and budding designers to answer the question: what will masonry’s design and construction delivery experience look like in the future?

For IMI, innovation is key to positioning masonry as a valued building system in design and construction. Innovation includes any solution that adds value, usefulness, appreciation, and relevance to masonry design and construction, and can be either an improvement of an existing system or a groundbreaking proposal. In other words, solutions should progress current masonry thinking or create new opportunities for growth through the creation of a scalable and repeatable model.

Solutions can explore innovation through masonry materials, the process of construction, or new business models related to construction efficiencies, and may also address issues such as energy efficiency, resiliency, sustainability, constructability, and customization. In all cases, however, the innovative ideas should be both clear and constructible.

To encourage freedom to innovate, the scale, size, program, and location, if applicable, are left open to the participant. Participants should model their solutions using BIM technology, and are encouraged to make use of BIM for Masonry (BIM-M) software plugins and tools.

The final solution can be an imagined, proposed, or completed structure or system. Submissions should clearly illustrate how masonry can transform or enhance its role in the building industry, and how this process advances design and construction opportunities in the future.

See the competition brief for complete details.

Download Brief [PDF]

Who Can Enter

The competition is open to:

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

Entry Categories

There are 3 entry categories:

  • Students: Undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in an accredited design, architecture, or engineering school.
  • Young Architects/Engineers: Any architects or engineers under the age of 40.
  • A/E Firms, Individual Architects/Engineers, & Cross-Category: Architecture/engineering firms, architects and engineers age 40 and over, and cross-category teams.

Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged in all categories to help facilitate a well-conceived solution, but individual entries are also permitted. There are no restrictions on team size.

Each team or individual may only submit one entry.


Monetary awards will be provided to 1st place winners in each of the 3 entry categories.

In addition to monetary prizes, winners may receive special publication and promotion opportunities and will be honored during an awards ceremony in Florida, with travel and accommodations covered by IMI.


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

Young Architects/Engineers


A/E Firms, Individual Architects/Engineers, & Cross-Category



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

Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be used to judge submissions:

  • Innovation (45%): The idea provides a groundbreaking proposal for positioning masonry. The idea generates added value or usefulness, improvement, or increases masonry’s relevance.
  • Execution of idea (30%): The idea is clearly communicated and understood.
  • Creativity (25%): The solution shows original thinking.


Registration closed on December 15, 2019.


How to Submit

Submissions closed on December 15, 2020.


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, BIM images, 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 project statement (1200 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.

Participants are encouraged to submit all information they consider necessary to explain their solution above and beyond the required deliverables, including, but not limited to, video, images, written, or multimedia content.

Key Competition Dates

  • Registration opens: July 15, 2019
  • Submission opens: August 1, 2019
  • Submission deadline: December 15, 2019 (11:59 p.m. EST)
  • Winners notified: February 2020
  • Award ceremony/winners announced: March 2020

About Joan B. Calambokidis

Joan B. Calambokidis served as President of the International Masonry Institute (IMI) from 1995-2017.

The JBC Masonry Innovation Competition was founded in 2018 to honor Joan’s legacy of masonry innovation, including groundbreaking advancements in training, education, research, and technical development.

Joan’s leadership was instrumental in creating IMI’s renowned training programs for craftworkers, contractors, and design professionals. Her vision for training has helped to bring an unprecedented level of skill, quality, and craftsmanship to masonry construction projects across the U.S. and Canada. Joan also led the development of IMI’s International Training Center, a multi-building, state-of-the-art facility in Maryland that has educated thousands of craftworkers and design professionals since its opening in 2007.

During Joan’s tenure, IMI helped curate Masonry Variations in 2003, a National Building Museum exhibit co-sponsored by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) and IMI. The exhibit featured innovative works by four architects, demonstrating the versatility of stone, terrazzo, brick, and autoclaved aerated concrete. The installations explored the relationship between material, technology, and collaboration.

Joan was also responsible for the creation of Masonry Camp, a nationally-recognized IMI program dedicated to building collaboration between designers and craftworkers.

Through the JBC Masonry Innovation Competition, IMI honors and carries on the tradition of innovation that Joan established in the masonry industry.

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!


Questions should be submitted via email to