Ideas competition for a Center for Architecture, Design and Education in Chicago

The Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) has recently launched the organization’s first ideas competition for a Center for Architecture, Design and Education (CADE). The competition will tackle an exciting new building typology, one with design as its central focus. Competitors will propose a facility that includes the new headquarters, visitor center and exhibition spaces of the Chicago Architecture Foundation; a new headquarters for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH); a design and allied arts high school; and flexible learning spaces for out-of-school-time youth programs.

“This competition will encourage and highlight design ideas for 21st-century learning and working spaces, potentially redefining the future of school design,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “As the world’s top incubator for design, the city of Chicago encourages architects and designers to contribute cutting-edge ideas for the future of learning spaces that will foster meaningful and functional learning environments to the next generation of students.”

As CAF approaches its 50-year anniversary, with a reach of 600,000 visitors annually, the organization is looking to its next opportunity for growth. “The Center for Architecture, Design and Education is a collaborative learning center that is the first of its kind, and we’re excited to start a conversation about the potential of what this unique new model can achieve,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Chicago Architecture Foundation. “Partnering with a group like CTBUH, for instance, and their unrivalled access to experts shaping the future of building tall, could bring a depth of knowledge to our exhibitions and out-of-school youth programs that is very exciting.”

The distinguished professionals who will jury the competition and identify the first-, second- and third-place winners include:
*Stanley Tigerman, Tigerman McCurry Architects
*David Adjaye, Adjaye Associates
*Monica Ponce De Leon, MPdL Studio
*Billie Tsien, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects
*Ned Cramer, Editor-in-Chief of Architect magazine

A student committee comprised of Chicago Public High Schools students will review a shortlist of submissions, selected by the jury, and identify a winner for the Student Committee Prize.

“The value of design competitions, speculative or otherwise, is the way they motivate a specific kind of creative thinking and commitment to the project at hand,” said Reed Kroloff, Competition Advisor and Senior Advisor for Programs and Industry Collaboration at CAF. “Professional and aspiring architects are encouraged to consider which design principles will best create the environment that a space requires; in this case, a collaborative and diverse center that fulfills the important goal of inspiring people to discover why design matters. I have a deep appreciation for how these competitions benefit the participants and the public at large, and we at CAF look forward to seeing what will certainly be a vast array of innovative project ideas.” 

In conjunction with the competition, CAF will host a major exhibition featuring a shortlist of submissions, during the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial. The exhibition will be open from October 1, 2015 to January 3, 2016. The aim of the exhibition is to spark discussion around the design of a Center for Architecture, Design and Education in Chicago, and highlight the city’s legacy of architectural leadership.

This is an ideas competition only. If the sponsors choose to develop this or any site at some time, winning this competition in no way implies participation in any future development of this site or program.

Selection criteria will include:
*originality of the proposal’s design vision
*responsiveness of the proposal to the competition’s objectives
*responsiveness of the proposal to the site and context
*quality and clarity of presentation materials

The jury will award three cash prizes with minimum values of at least:
*First Prize: $10,000
*Second Prize: $5,000
*Third Prize: $2,500

The jury may also award an unspecified number of honorable mentions as it sees fit. Honorable mentions do not carry a cash prize. The student committee will award a cash prize of $1,000.

Competition questions are due by July 31st. On August 7th, registration closes and competition questions are answered. Late registration closes on August 19th and competition submissions are due by September 9th. The jury will convene on September 17th-18th, after which the exhibition shortlist will be announced. The exhibition opens at the Chicago Architecture Foundation on October 1st, followed by the opening reception and announcement of winners on October 8th. The exhibition closes on January 3rd.

For complete rules, guidelines and project submission, please visit