Competition Overview

IMI’s JBC Masonry Innovation Competition wants your ideas for transformative masonry design. We’re challenging practicing and aspiring architects and engineers to advance the future of masonry design and construction.

Designers have the power to help create resilient, healthy, just, and equitable communities. But solving global challenges to improve our world demands innovation. We want to see your bold new concepts that show how masonry can better our built environment. We also want to see new ideas that have the potential to change the way we design and build with masonry and create growth opportunities for our industry.

Whether you have a great idea that addresses how infrastructure like schools and healthcare facilities will change in a post-pandemic world, thoughts on how to address the climate crisis, insights on improving equity, or another innovative plan, we want to hear from you. Solutions can also explore innovations in materials, the construction process, new business models, or simply show a unique aesthetic and functional use of masonry.

Whatever direction you decide to take, your innovative solution should add value, usefulness, appreciation, and relevance to masonry design and construction. It can be either an improvement of an existing system or a groundbreaking proposal.

Imagined, proposed, and completed structures and systems are welcomed. The scale, size, program, and location are left up to your imagination, but your concepts should be both clear and constructible. We encourage you to model your solution in BIM and use BIM for Masonry (BIM-M) plugins and tools to make the most of your design.

Together with innovative architects and engineers, we can create a better built world for everyone. Show us your innovative solutions!

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 will receive special publicity opportunities, including the opportunity to present their designs on IMI’s popular webinar series, which regularly draws hundreds of attendees across the country. Winners will also be highlighted in digital publications and honored during an awards ceremony.


$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 is currently closed.

Please check back in 2023.


How to Submit

The online entry and submission system is currently closed.


During the online entry submission period, 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.

Past Winners

Young Architects/Engineers

Firms, Individual Architects/Engineers, & Cross-Category



Spatial Masonry

Spatial Masonry uses 3D graphic statics (3DGS) to revolutionize the design of spatial funicular structural masonry forms. This compression-only frame is made up of 5 prefabricated joints and 97 compression members sitting on steel supports. It’s a proof-of-concept for 3D graphic statics for discrete structures.

Mohammad Bolhassani, PhD, PE, Assistant Professor, The City College of New York
Chenyu Pu, Architectural Designer, Heintges and Associates

Gusto 501

Gusto 501 is a multi-level Italian restaurant and event space for Janet Zuacarini’s Gusto 54 group that combines traditional terra cotta with digital technologies. The result: a contemporary culinary and cultural hub in Toronto’s Corktown neighborhood that blends with its legacy historic masonry buildings.

Jonathan Friedman, Partisans Architects, OAA, MRAIC, AIA International Associate
Benjamin Salance, Partisans Architects, NY RA, OAA Intern Architect

Seismic Block

Seismic Block brings a new triangulated form to CMU to help combat extreme forces in earthquake-prone areas. 


Michael Oddo, AIAS, Iowa State University
Tyler Vincent, Iowa State University


Mashrabiya 2.0

Mashrabiya 2.0 is a 3D-printed façade with cooling properties. 

Iowa State University faculty
Leslie Forehand, Lecturer of Architecture
Shelby Doyle, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Nick Senske, Assistant Professor of Architecture
Erin Hunt, Computation and Construction Lab Associate

Masonry Unit for Space

This hexagonal masonry unit suitable for building in space would be available in a field-fabricated solid rock module with post-tension reinforcement, or as factory-manufactured CMU with grouted rebar. he unit would incorporate greater structural performance, improved versatility, and a new material aesthetic.

Anh Nguyen, LEED AP
Shawn Chinudomsub, AIA, NCARB, CCS, LEED AP of IDAS, Inc.

Alterable Brick Wall

This alterable brick wall uses passive design strategies to improve interior building conditions and save energy.



Chao Wei, graduate student, Syracuse University

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.


Questions should be submitted via email to