2022 Preservation at its Best Nominations Open

2022 “Preservation at Its Best Awards”: Nomination Guidelines

EMAIL DEADLINE: Friday, April 15, 2022

Each year Preservation Iowa seeks to honor statewide successes through the “Preservation at its Best Awards”. In doing so, we hope to inspire others to take action to preserve, protect, and promote Iowa’s historic resources.

Additionally, these projects highlight the work being done around the state to preserve our historic structures by re-purposing them to allow reintegration into their local communities. Many of these projects encourage community growth by stimulating the local economy through housing, food industry, and bringing Iowans back into their historic districts which encourages the preservation of Iowa’s rich heritage.

Project awards will be presented at the 2022 Preserve Iowa Summit to be held in Mason City on June 2-4 (more event details to come). Winning projects will receive awards from Preservation Iowa and will be highlighted on Preservation Iowa’s website and Facebook pages. Media releases will be sent to each winning nominee’s community.


Nominated projects must have been completed within the geographic boundaries of Iowa and completed within a time frame extending from January 1, 2020 to April 15, 2022. Incomplete projects will not be considered. Nominations can be made by/for individual owners, corporation, development groups, or organizations.

Property owner(s) must be notified by the nominator before submission of the nomination, so they can be notified of the nomination status.


Adaptive Use – Conversion of a historic structure for a new or compatible use while retaining its architectural integrity. This category could include a mixed-use project.

Commercial (Small and Large) – Rehabilitation/restoration of a historic commercial structure. Commercial awards are given for both small structure (under 5,000 total square feet) and large structure (5,000 or more over total square feet). This category could include a mixed-use project.

Public Structure – Rehabilitation/restoration of a publicly/government owned structure.

Residential Structure (Single/Multi-Family) – Rehabilitation/restoration and continued use of a residential structure. Residential awards may be considered for single family homes as well as multi-family structures.

Sacred Place – Rehabilitation/restoration/reuse of a sacred site, sacred ground, sacred space, holy ground, or holy place, place of religious assembly such as a church, synagogue, mosque or other related property.

Community Effort – A community’s concerted effort to save a historic structure, district, or cultural resource. Nominating groups could include, but are not limited to, downtown organizations, historic preservation commissions, city/county governments, development groups, neighborhood associations, preservation groups, etc.

Rural Preservation – Preservation or restoration of Iowa rural landscape, heritage or built environment.

Sustainability in Preservation – Incorporation of sustainable practices into the rehabilitation/restoration of a historic structure. Project does not need to be LEED certified to be considered for award but nomination does need to demonstrate sustainable practices used in project. Award can be made to any typology of building project.

Martha Hayes Preservationist of the Year Award – Individual or group that has championed historic preservation planning, policy or activities in Iowa.

Special Projects – Films, Books, Websites, Podcasts, Plays, etc. that tell Iowa’s stories and promote the preservation of Iowa’s historic resources.


Preservation Iowa invites a jury of preservation experts to review nominations for the Preservation at Its Best Awards. This panel of judges will also place nominations in their respective categories to give each project its highest scoring potential.

Projects will be judged on degree of historic preservation excellence, community impact, quality of work completed and thoroughness of the nomination submitted. Honorable mentions or multiple awards may be given if decided upon by the panel of judges.

Check out the winning nominees from the last 5 years on the Preservation Iowa website at: http://www.preservationiowa.org/programs/preservation-at-its-best-awards/


One (1) nomination packet should be submitted via email for jurors’ review, and should include:
Completed nomination form: information about property/project, owner, and nominator

Project Narrative: The narrative describing the project should be no longer than 750 words, and clearly address each of the following:
• The beginning and ending date of the project.
• Description of before condition and historic significance of the building. Include building’s square footage and building construction date.
• Description of work completed.
• Project challenges and creative solutions.
• The project’s long-range impact on structure and the neighborhood/community.
• Accomplishments or contributions (if individual or organizational award).
• Description of project funding.
• Other supporting information.
• If the nomination is for an individual, please include a short biography.

Digital Images. Include at least 4 and no more than 8 digital images documenting the project, including before and after images. High resolution digital images are preferred (.jpg or .tiff formats preferred). Where necessary please include photo credits.


There are no nomination fees.


One (1) copy of the completed nomination packet described above, including the completed nomination form, project narrative, and digital images, must be submitted via email by the deadline to Laura Carstens, Awards Ceremony Coordinator at lauracplan@gmail.com.
Nomination packets in bookmarked .pdf format are preferred.

EMAIL DEADLINE: Friday, April 15, 2022

Submitted materials will not be returned. Submission to the Preservation at Its Best Awards provides Preservation Iowa permission to use materials in organization.

Any questions may be directed to Laura Carstens at 563-557-8855 or lauracplan@gmail.com.