In the 1950s, the family and friends of renowned city planner Henry A. Bettman, established a memorial fund in his honor to support excellence in city planning, the hallmark of his career. The founders of the Bettman Memorial Fund designated AIA Cincinnati to serve as its custodian and administrator. The chapter has directed proceeds from the Fund to support worthy urban design and planning initiatives consistent with the original objectives of the Bettman Fund founders. In 1998, wishing to invigorate participation in the design of our city – and to maximize the public and professional benefits of the Bettman Fund investments – AIA Cincinnati established the Bettman Prize. The Board of Directors sets the amount of the prize in the budget at the beginning of the calendar year. The amount of the Bettman Prize is typically between $500 and $1500.

Contact our Executive Director for more information about supporting or applying for the AIA Cincinnati Bettman Prize


AIA Cincinnati awards the Bettman Prize to proposals that through creativity and vision, seek to enrich the physical setting for urban life in greater Cincinnati. Proposals may address a broad variety of urban issues: neighborhood conservation; public housing; the streetscape; information design, signage and way-finding; energy and ecology; urban recreation and riverfront development; land use and zoning; transportation; building design; historic preservation; and the design and planning of monuments, memorials, parks, outdoor artworks, and other public amenities.

AIA Cincinnati welcomes proposals for projects of varied scope and format, including research, programming studies, speculative design, small-scale construction, exhibitions, and installation of public art.

The Bettman Prize award program seeks to stimulate positive debate about planning, design and city life. In the interests of such debate, the terms of the award stipulate that the Bettman Prize recipients will agree to present the completed project to the AIA Cincinnati membership and general public as the featured event at a regularly scheduled chapter meeting. In consideration of these requirements, the Board of Directors will disburse two-thirds of the award to the recipient(s) at the start of project and the remaining one-third upon its completion.


The Bettman Fund welcomes proposals from any applicant over the age of 18. AIA Cincinnati especially encourages planners, educators, artists, students, and concerned citizens to apply. Current directors, officers, executive directors and employees of AIA Cincinnati, AIA Ohio, and the American Institute of Architects are not eligible to apply for the Bettman Prize.

Consideration for the Bettman Prize is limited to one proposal per applicant. Past recipients in good standing may apply for the Bettman Prize no sooner than two years following receipt of their most recent award. This restriction may be waived by the Board of Directors at its discretion.

Criteria for Evaluation

The Bettman Prize jury will consider the following criteria in its evaluation of project proposals: relevance to the mission of the Bettman Fund; potential to broaden and elevate public awareness of urban design issues; breadth of constituency and public impact; creative depth; innovation; image ability; qualifications of the applicant; and project feasibility (the potential to complete the project within a 12 month period).

The Jury will consist of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. The Jury will make a recommendation to the Board of Directors on the award of the Bettman Prize.

Submission Requirements

Proposals must include a brief letter of intent, a project description in no more than 300 words, a brief resume of the applicant(s), a production schedule for the proposed project, and an itemized budget. Optional application materials include appropriate supportive documentation, a portfolio of selected work, and letters of recommendation. Applications may not exceed ten (10) 8.5″x11″ pages, including letters of intent and support.

Exhibition and Publication of Projects

At its discretion, AIA Cincinnati may from time to time do the following:

  • exhibit photographs and other documentation of the Bettman Prize at area institutions, including schools, banks, galleries, and libraries.
  • issue press releases, images, and editorial descriptions of Bettman Prize projects to local and national newspapers, magazines, and relevant social media sites.
  • publish material related to the Bettman Prize program in digital or print form, including posting on relevant social media sites posters, pamphlets, monographs, and books.

AIA Cincinnati will work with Bettman Prize recipients to record the progress of work; store and maintain drawings, photographs and models of the work; and develop a suitable archive of Bettman Prize documentation for the benefit of future applicants, chapter members, and the public.


The chair of the Bettman Prize Jury will coordinate the annual program in close consultation with the Executive Director. AIA Cincinnati will solicit and accept applications for the Bettman Prize once every year. The deadline for submissions is August 15th. The Bettman Prize Jury will convene to review proposals accordingly. The jury has no obligation to make an award when it convenes. The President will announce the winning recipient(s) of the award within four weeks of the deadline. Projects will commence with the signing of a letter of agreement between AIA Cincinnati and the recipient(s). Bettman Prize recipients will present the completed project at a chapter meeting, open to the public, to be designated by the Board of Directors.