Treehouse Napkin Sketch Contest

Sketch Provided By Alejandro Cruz, ALA Intern
Let's Get Back to Nature! Free to Enter!
Deadline Extended 5 PM Central, Tuesday, December 8th

Showcase your originality and design expertise and win! ALA presents the first annual Napkin Sketch Contest for licensed architects, architecture associates, architecture students, and suppliers to the built environment. A panel of experts will judge your 5-inch by 5-inch sketches based on creativity, originality and technical skill.

Be as practical or fanciful as you like. Use the tree or groups of trees of your dreams as a base, or use one of three tree photo examples below for inspiration. The sky’s the limit!

Full details for eligibility, submission and judging are below. Submit up to five sketches; we’ll select winners and runners-up and highlight your sketches on the ALA website and social media.

All sketches must be received by 5 pm CT on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020. Winners will be announced by Friday, December 18th.

PLEASE NOTE: Do not submit sketches until you have fully reviewed the contest guidelines below.

Who is Eligible to Enter:
ALA Members and Non-Members are welcome to participate - there is no entry fee. You must be a licensed architect, architecture associate, architecture student, or supplier/service provider to the built environment.

Winners and Prizes:
A SINGLE, FIRST PLACE AWARD and up to three (3) RUNNER-UP AWARDS will be awarded in each category of licensed architect, architecture associate or supplier/service provider, and architecture student (three categories), as chosen by the panel of judges. The judges may also elect to award HONORABLE MENTION AWARDS that recognize an outstanding aspect of a sketch, such as humor, timeliness (Covid-19 pandemic), use of a unique medium, etc.

The single first place award will receive a $200 gift card, art prize pack, and cocktail napkins imprinted with their sketch.
Runner-Up awards include an art prize pack from sponsors or a $25 BLICK gift card.
Honorable Mention awards will be published along with all winners on the ALA website, in social media, and in Licensed Architect, a publication of the Association of Licensed Architects.

The prizes will be mailed to winners by Friday, December 18, 2020.  The cocktail napkins will be sent as soon as printed.
Sketches will be judged based on creativity, originality and technical skill. An outstanding panel of educator-practitioners who have more than 100 years of service as faculty members at Ball State University's College of Architecture & Planning have been assembled to adjudicate the entries. Collectively, they have been recognized with awards in the annual ARCHITECTURAL RECORD Napkin Sketch Contest, Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition (KRob) and have made dozens of invited presentations at professional and educational conferences.
Chair: Tony Costello, FAIA, Irving Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Architecture & Principal, Costello+ Associates
Lohren Deeg, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Member of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators 
Harry Eggink, RA, Professor of Architecture

The Contest:
In order to participate, you will need a 5-inch by 5-inch cocktail napkin and ink, a ballpoint pen, markers or pencils. Entries larger than 5 inches by 5 inches will be disqualified. The contest is completed as follows:
  • Design a treehouse using the tree or groups of trees of your dreams, or use the three tree photos shown below as the base. 
  • Create the sketch on an actual 5 inch by 5 inch white napkin. You may cut a larger napkin down to these dimensions.
  • Use ink, a ballpoint pen, markers, or pencils. Use of color is acceptable
  • You may enter up to 5 sketches.
  • Scan in your sketch and save the file (in png, jpg or pdf formats) as your name and include the number of the sketch. All individual files should be under 3MB.
  • Submit your entries here with your first image uploaded as Last Name - 1, and each thereafter labeled as Last Name - 2, etc. up to 5.
Imagine a treehouse in one of these locations, or, in the location of your dreams!


All sketches must be received by 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday, December 8, 2020. Winners will be announced by Friday, December 18th.

Email questions to