Architecture was more or less identified with housing & more so with elite housing. However, many countries have used architecture effectively for public structures also, such as highways, Metro rails, factories, harbors & many other public facilities. If these structures have to look pleasing, relevant architecture has to be applied in their designs.

The subject of challenges to architecture w.r.t. town planning, infrastructure development & affordable housing is being discussed in various countries through various forums. Late Shri Yadupati Singhania JI, Past Chairman and Managing Director of J.K. Cement Limited thought that we can contribute to this cause by encouraging outstanding talent in the architecture profession as a continuous process & thereby set an example for others in the profession to do better & better. This is how 1st AYA began way back in the year 1990. Dr. Raghavpat Singhania, MD, JK Cement Ltd and Mr. Madhav Krishna Singhania, DMD JK Cement Ltd are taking the legacy forward after the sad demise of Mr. Yadupati Singhania.

To encourage state level architecture, State Architecture awards were also introduced from the year 1998.

India and the countries neighboring India are still in the process of Infrastructure creation, industrial development and development of towns and habitats for its people. Construction related activities contribute greatly to the upliftment of economy and living standard. We thought that we have a common goal with the Countries in the region. Therefore, AYA activity was extended to some neighboring countries also.

Total 10 countries i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kenya, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Uganda are now participating in these awards.
Apex award is given for lifetime contribution under the honour as “Great Master's award” or “Chairman’s Award”, once in three years.
Young architects are also not left out from the honor. Their works are awarded under “Young Architect’s Award”.
In order to inculcate the healthy competition from beginning, Architecture Student of the year award has also been introduced for the final year students of architecture.
Jury is selected from INDIA, Participating Indian States & Participating countries consisting of Architects of eminence who evaluate the entries independent of the company.
A dignitary from India preside over the function for award distribution. This has been the tradition since 1990.

List of Chief guest since AYA-1990 is -
32 nd JK AYA
1st JK AYA HON’BLE Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma,
Vice President of India
2nd JK AYA HON’BLE Smt. Krishna Sahi,
Minister of State for Industries
3rd JK AYA HON’BLE Smt. Sheila Kaul,
Minister of Urban Development
4th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Madhav Rao Scindhia
(Alternate Dr. Gaur Hari Singhania)
5th JK AYA HON’BLE Dr. Smt. Najma Heptulla,
Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha
6th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri HD Deve Gowda,
Prime Minister of India
7th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri I.K. Gujral,
Prime Minister of India
8th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Ashok Gehlot,
Chief Minister of Rajasthan
9th JK AYA HON’BLE Lt. Gen. (Retd) J.F.R. Jacob,
Governor of Punjab
10th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri N Chandrababu Naidu,
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
11th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Digvijay Singh,
Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh
12th & 13th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat,
Vice President of India
14th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri T.N. Chaturvedi,
Governor of Karnataka
15th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Chhagan Bhujbal,
PWD Minister, Govt. of Maharastra
16th & 17th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri S.C. Gupta,
Chairman United bank of India
18th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri R.S. Gavai,
Governor of Kerala
19th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Shivraj Patil,
Governor of Punjab & Administrator UT of Chandigarh
20th JK AYA Hon’ble Shri Digambar Kamath,
Chief Minister of Goa
21st JK AYA Hon’ble Shri Basil Rajapaksa,
Cabinet Minister for Economic development, Govt. of Sri Lanka.
22nd JK AYA Hon’ble Dr. K. Rosaiah,
overnor of Tamil Nadu
23rd JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Ram Naik,
Governor of Uttar Pradesh
24th JK AYA HON’BLE Gurudev Shri Sri Ravishankar,
The founder of “Art of Living”
25th JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Nitin Gadkari,
Minister for surface transport, Govt. of India
26th JK AYA HON’BLE Dr. K. Radhakrishnan,
Padma Bhushan and Advisor and ex-Chairman ISRO.
27th JK AYA HON’BLE Ar. B.V. Doshi,
Padma Shree and Pritzker laureate.
28th JK AYA HON’BLE Gen. V.P. Malik,
Former chief of army staff, Indian Army.
29th & 30th JK AYA HON’BLE Smt. Anandi Ben Patel,
Hon’ble Governor of Uttar Pradesh.
31st JK AYA HON’BLE Lt. Gen. Gurmit Singh (Retd.),
Governor of Uttarakhand.
32nd JK AYA HON’BLE Shri Manoj Sinha,
Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir.