In the late 1920's, The Architectural League of New York established the first American competition for architectural drawings. It was named after Birch Long, one of their greatly talented and much-loved members who died while working on their 1927 exhibition. The "Birch Burdette Long Memorial Prize" was awarded annually until 1972, when it was discontinued for lack of interest in architectural illustration.
It seems a remarkable coincidence, indeed that a new annual event in far-away Texas was initiated the following year by the Dallas Chapter of the AIA, and was subsequently named for the untimely death of a respected colleague.
This event preceded by two years the 1975 founding of the British Society of Architecture Illustrators (SAI), the first of several national organizations to follow. In 1980 the Japanese Architectural Renderers Association (JARA) was initiated, followed by the 1986 founding of The American Society of Architectural Perspectivists (ASAP) in Boston by Frank Constantino, Steve Rich and myself. The NYSR in New York and the short-lived New Jersey Association were formed soon after ASAP. After the Koreans founded KAPA in 1990, the Australians became the "newest kid on the block" with their AAAI, which was organized [in 1995]. All this makes the Ken Roberts the most senior architectural drawing competition currently in operation anywhere in the world. – (article researched and written by Paul Stevenson Oles, FAIA)