Competition Winners

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) is pleased to announce the winners of The Sustainable Home: Habitat for Humanity Student Design Competition for the 2011-2012 academic year. Administered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Vinyl Institute (VI), the program engaged young professionals in Habitat for Humanity’s effort to eliminate poverty housing by advancing the design of simple, decent, healthy, and affordable homes. A separate prize for the best use of vinyl building materials was awarded and vinyl building products and systems were used in the design of The Sustainable Home whenever possible (required for the Vinyl Award).

Michael Bell, Columbia University
Pam Dorr, HERO Housing, Habitat for Humanity, Hale County, Alabama
Nick Mancusi, American Institute of Architecture Students
Timothy E.G. McDonald, Onion Flats
Rick Sundberg, Sundberg Kennedy Ly-Au Young Architects

Jury Comments: Evolution vs. revolution, consensus around the opportunity to push the envelope for Habitat and we chose most projects that tended to do that. Sustainable homes are a larger conversation than what Habitat is doing now, formally and technologically and from a construction perspective. Habitat currently could expand their view of labor resources. Based on the projects, Habitat should consider exploring new technologies, energy production, green roofs, sunscreens, wrappings, among others. 

The concept of density is crucial, Habitat should explore multi-family and multi-generational spaces. The idea of a sustainable home may not always be synonymous with a single family suburban home, which opens questions about what sustainability is: not just materially or environmentally, but also from an urbanistic perspective. 

The jury selected a winner for each region and a special "vinyl award" category. Click on the images below to view the project details:


Project Title: NOTBLOX® Affordable Housing Project: Assembling Sustainable Communities with Insulating Concrete Forms
Faculty Sponsor: Ulrike Heine
Student: Nick Barrett and Samuel Pruitt
School: Clemson University 

Jury Comments: The project demonstrates ease of constructability in a very handsome and sophisticated design. The composition of the boards and the presentation as a whole were strong, offering a lot of information without being overwhelming, and gives the sense of the spirit of the place. The design offers many great options for using vinyl.



Project Title: The S House: A Passive House for Calgary
Faculty Sponsor: Graham D. Livesey
Student: Yiming Su
School: University of Calgary

Jury Comments: The design is captivating and expressive, while still remaining simple and straightforward. In a straightforward way, the final form of building and structure and mechanical issues are fused. All the systems are integrated into the single shell, and the louvers act as part of same system acting as a screen. If Habitat were to build this house, it would likely be the best house in the neighborhood. The presentation offered a photorealistic representation of the spatial context.


Project Title: The Sustainable Home
Faculty Sponsor: Anthony C. Martinico
Student: Agnieszka Wir-Konas
School: University of Detroit Mercy

Jury Comments: The jury appreciated the simplicity of the plan, its orientation to the sun, its consideration of cost-effective manufacturing construction techniques and its ability to grow and transform over time, to become a larger home or a multi-generational living space. The house has a clear planned diagram and a convincing composition. The design is very handsome, pushing the visual notion of what a Habitat house could be, while exploring modularity and production. 

Green Roof: The management of storm water, with underground and invisible systems, is expensive, and a green roof addresses those issues. As we continue to rebuild suburbs and cities, green roofs offer many benefits: managing storm water, tripling the life of roof membrane, reducing cooling in summertime, all while being an occupiable garden. Vinyl plays a role with PVC membrane under the green roof.


Project Title: One simple structural shape, lightweight highly insulated strong and sustainable
Faculty Sponsor: James Cooper
Student: Josh Robinson
School: Pennsylvania State University

Jury Comments: This was the most intriguing, dialogue-inspiring presentation. The layout and the graphic presentation as a story-board showed explicitly how the project would be constructed. This house is looking toward the future of modular, or factory built components in terms of being lightweight, strong and durable. 

Vinyl: Forward thinking use of vinyl. Innovative project, addressing material nature of vinyl rather than the product, totally unconventional for Habitat. This project is a fantasy, from fiberglass to vinyl. Surface and structure are the same thing. So much information conveyed without words. No real technical information was provided by this team, but their presentation creatively draws the viewer in, to get involved and to make assumptions. This project looked at vinyl as a material.


Project Title: The Gallery House
Faculty Sponsors: Justin Miller and Robert Sproull Jr.
Students: Ashley Clark, Peter McInish and Mary Win McCarthy 
School: Auburn University 

Jury Comments: While a very modest proposal, in another sense it was rather interesting how the design applied the materials on the exterior skin, taking the product and moving it forward as opposed to just using vinyl siding. By integrating the idea of the window and the skin together it made a much richer palette. This project approached vinyl as a product, breaking down all the elements and showed practicality of making house affordable and simple.



ACSA would like to thank all member schools for their continued support and participation in our student design competitions:

Andrews University, Auburn University, Boston Architectural College, Bowling Green State University, California Polytechnic State University, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Carnegie Mellon University, Clemson University, Florida International University, Hawkeye Community College, Iowa State University, Louisiana State University, Manchester University, Marywood University, Mississippi State University, Morgan State University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New York Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, Pennsylvania State University, Portland State University, Prairie View A&M University, Rice University, Ryerson University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Technical University of Crete, Tuskegee University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Universidad Del Istmo Guatemala, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Detroit Mercy, University of Florida, University of Hawaii At Manoa, University of Houston, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky, University of Manitoba, University of Manitoba Faculty of Architecture, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas At San Antonio, University of Waterloo, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Western Kentucky University, Western Technical College, & Woodbury University San Diego

Eric W. Ellis, Director of Operations and Programs
Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
1735 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: 202.785.2324