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AIA partners with industry groups to launch $30,000 'Designing Recovery' design competition

AIA partners with industry groups to launch $30,000 'Designing Recovery' design competition

American Institute of Architects, Make It Right, St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity launch housing design contest to aid disaster survivors

By AIA | June 13, 2013
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) today announced a strategic partnership with Make It Right, St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity to launch “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuild of sustainable and resilient communities. The competition, which is designed to help survivors of three recent natural disasters, was announced as a Commitment to Action at CGI America, an annual event of the Clinton Global Initiative focused on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States.
Dow Building Solutions, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, is sponsoring the award, providing building science expertise and products.
The “Designing Recovery” competition will take place in three distinct settings – New Orleans, LA; Joplin, MO; and New York, N.Y. – where the non-profit partner organizations are already working to recover from previous disasters. The partner organizations will assemble a portfolio, or pattern book, of entries of single-family housing designs with the objective of improving the quality, diversity and resiliency of the housing in each community. The portfolios will be made public after the close of the competition in October and the houses that utilize submitted designs will be placed on Architecture for Humanity’s Open Architecture Network and Make It Right’s Laboratory, an online forum for green builders.
The competition focuses on three communities, but organizers hope designs will also aid other communities recovering from recent natural disasters, including Moore, Oklahoma.
A total of $30,000 in prize money will be divided equally among three winning designs – one for each location. While the competition will award prizes to these winning designs, any design that meets these criteria will be saved in the portfolio to provide each community with additional housing options to aid in its long-term recovery. Our mission is to construct as many houses based on competition entries as possible.
Entries must be judged feasible to be built through the development models of Architecture for Humanity, Make It Right, and St. Bernard Project and must also incorporate the skills and input of a licensed architect. Organizers hope to be able to collect multiple designs that are suitable for use in each community’s ongoing recovery efforts. For more details on how to enter, click here.
“This competition is not about replacing what was lost, but building back something that is better,” said AIA President Mickey Jacob, FAIA. “Architects are uniquely qualified for this task, and we look forward to helping select entries that will establish a new standard for resilient, sustainable housing.”
"The cities of New Orleans, New York and Joplin are all stark reminders of the emerging threat of severe-weather disasters brought on by a changing climate,” said Eric Cesal, Director of Reconstruction and Resiliency at Architecture for Humanity. “Every city can learn from the successes and failures of these three cities and their response to disaster.  Designers and architects have a responsibility to do more - and to do better. We hope this competition will draw out the best and brightest new ideas for a world of new risks."
“We believe innovative designs can help transform and revitalize communities recovering from disasters,” said Tom Darden, executive director, Make It Right. “We're excited to share what we're learning building Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes with other communities in need and we're looking forward to seeing new ideas and design concepts." 
“This design competition makes clear: there is not a zero sum relationship between cost, energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Zack Rosenburg, Esq., Director, St. Bernard Project. “Disaster-impacted citizens will have access to cutting-edge designs that will allow citizens to recover in a prompt, efficient, predictable - and sustainable - manner.”
About the American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit
About Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. We are building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. By tapping a network of more than 75,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services, we bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed.  For more information, visit or find us on Twitter at @archforhumanity and Facebook at
St. Bernard Project 
St. Bernard Project (SBP) is an award-winning rebuilding, nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that disaster-impacted citizens and communities recover in a prompt, efficient and predictable manner. Through its Disaster Recovery Lab, SBP works to share lessons learned, prevent common barriers to recovery and help communities utilize SBP’s standardized, repeatable and proven-effective model. Since its founding, SBP has rebuilt homes for over 500 families in greater New Orleans and Joplin, Missouri with the help of 50,000 volunteers, and is now working in Rockaway, Staten Island and other communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy. Visit
Make It Right
Founded by Brad Pitt, Make It Right builds healthy, Cradle to Cradle-inspired homes, buildings and communities for people in need. Make It Right is currently working in New Orleans, LA, Newark, NJ, Kansas City, MO and the Fort Peck Reservation, MT. Learn more at
Dow Building Solutions
Dow Building Solutions has a 60+ year legacy of providing energy saving solutions to the construction industry, which began with the launch of STYROFOAM™ Brand Extruded Polystyrene Foam Insulation. A business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, Dow Building Solutions offers insulation, air sealing and weatherization solutions to improve the performance of homes and buildings and reduce energy costs while contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Visit
About CGI America
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Established in June 2011 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) addresses economic recovery in the United States. CGI America brings together leaders in business, government, and civil society to generate and implement commitments to create jobs, stimulate economic growth, foster innovation, and support workforce development in the United States. Since its first meeting, CGI America participants have made more than 200 commitments valued at $13.4 billion when fully funded and implemented. To learn more, visit
CGI also convenes an Annual Meeting, which brings together global leaders to take action and create positive social change, CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at

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