CIRT Design & Construction Competition

About the Competitioncirt ace logo

The CIRT Design & Construction Competition 2017 theme celebrates the innovations and contributions the design and construction community makes to the quality of American life, while understanding the issues and challenges the industry faces to deliver on this legacy.

The CIRT competition is maintained, coordinated, and judged by the Construction Industry Round Table Teams of three or more students will collaboratively complete a Design Challenge and submit a final presentation board(s) digitally for jury review. All teams must be affiliated with the ACE Mentor Program, and identify their mentor on their competition application. The competition will begin in January 2017, and will conclude at the CIRT Spring Conference in Washington D.C. 

NEW! The 2017 program marks the beginning of a new collaboration with the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) to provide an online digital platform,, to conduct the competition.

Join the Competition

STEP 1: Establish your team and choose your project challenge.

STEP 2: Begin working as a team as in the past (i.e., face-to-face, in-school program, afterschool, etc with your mentors).  

OPTIONAL: This year students can work collaboratively online using DiscoverDesign. Find out more on the FAQs page

STEP 3: Work collaboratively on your project challenge using either or both of the above options (face-to-face or online). The deadline for submitting final project is March 4, 2017. Be sure to review the Jury Criteria on the FAQs page

STEP 4:  Submit the Team Project.  Once your project challenge is finalized and ready to be submitted on or before March 4, 2017, you will do two steps:

1) Register your team under the Submit Your Project button from the main using your team email account. The precise ACE Mentor Affiliate’s name and contact information will be required as will each of the Mentors and Students names and emails on the registration form.

2) You will then be asked to upload the team’s final presentation board(s).  A minimum of 1 – 2 images must be uploaded: pictures up to 10MB each; or PDFs up to 20MB each.

PLEASE NOTE:  Once you hit “SUBMIT” you will NOT be allowed to make any changes to your project application.  All submissions are final.


CIRT will notify finalists on March 21, 2017. The finalists can select a representative for their team to present their project in D.C. CIRT will provide up to $1,000 per team for the travel expenses for the finalists attending the CIRT Spring Conference. Team representatives will present their board(s) to the CIRT Panel of Judges on April 24, 2017, and the winners will be selected and announced at that time. CIRT will present the top three national finalists with prizes.

Competition questions? Contact CIRT Need technical support? Contact DiscoverDesign


Choose a Design Challenge

Each team will choose one of the following design challenges to work on together. One final project will be submitted per team (up to two boards). For ACE Mentor Affiliates who have more than one team -- we encourage you to work with teams that have selected different challenges.  

Presidential Library/MuseumUpgrade a Structure ChallengeOpen Spaces Design Challenge

Presidential Library/Museum Challenge

With the President leaving office in January 2017, historians, academia, and the general public will turn to the creation of a “Presidential Library,” which will also serve as a Museum, to reflect-on and capture the key events of eight years of the Obama Administration. As with any new library this endeavor cannot be just a musty, silent holding area for books, records, and other materials. Instead, this project MUST display an ability to showcase both elements of library technology to emerge as a digital repository of information, while also having aspects of a Museum capable of attracting all ages, ethnic groups, and interests.  The challenge is to create a space that emphasizes natural light, sustainability, education, and community while representing a new understanding of what this presidential library/museum can feature for the Obama presidency – through the BUILT environment! What would you, as a designer using construction materials and ideas, do to attract, engage, excite, and enliven the public to visit such a site in your community? Keep in mind:

  • Dimensions, size, costs, etc. must be determined by the team, but all decisions should be explained and warranted based on the resources likely to be attracted to such a proposal. A square foot cost estimate must be provided.
  • Use of materials, building techniques, and approaches that emphasize sustainability, energy efficiency, and recyclable eco-friendly products as well as being equipped with the latest smart building and security technologies should be integral to the design proposal.
  • NOTE AS TO SITE SELECTION: The actual Presidential Library is planned for Chicago, HOWEVER, for this competition you can site the project anywhere, including your home town/city, just justify the reasons for your site as part of meeting the overall goals for this challenge – i.e., a place where people will want to come or gather.

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Upgrade a Structure Challenge

Upcycled Architecture is defined as the art of redesigning an existing structure for purposes other than those for which it was originally intended. Upcycled Architecture additionally advances an existing building’s sustainable, dynamic, and programmatic uses. Some contend social and economic changes are creating phenomenal possibilities to upcycle older structures. Very often, buildings outlive their original purposes and today's designers and builders face the challenge of creatively bringing new life and function to them. Upcycled Architecture offers the chance to embrace our past designs while looking to the future for more adaptive uses. Key to success in this challenge:

  • Identify the structure(s)
  • Provide the reasons for your selection
  • Give clear explanation of former or current uses/purpose and what you intend to change it to
  • Support for your intended purpose(s)
  • You MUST use design and construction materials, building techniques, and approaches (e.g., speak to the structural engineering and construction) that are the essence of your new approach/purpose.  [Dimensions, size, costs, site, etc. must be determined by the team, but all decisions should be explained and warranted based on the resources likely to be attracted to such a proposal. A square foot cost estimate must be provided].

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Open Spaces Design Challenge

Reimagining an open space, that is either unoccupied or formerly occupied by buildings and/or storefronts that are in disrepair or not any longer used (or fully used), into attractive, inviting, common area or park-like space can bring not only aesthetics back to an urban center but vitality and livability. This option challenges the teams to:

  • Make a site selection (can be open under-used or wasted areas, or replace structures, etc.)
  • Show before and after (geospatial mapping, etc.)
  • Make it inviting exciting and sustainable to the public
  • Select landscaping and/or other structures for the reimagined space
  • You MUST explain how your design and construction choices will accomplish your goals to make the changes you plan. [Dimensions, size, costs, site, etc. must be determined by the team, but all decisions should be explained and warranted based on the resources likely to be attracted to such a proposal. A square foot cost estimate and timeline must be provided. Demolition and hazardous material removal should be taken into account as well and be fully discussed/shown].

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Submitting your project

The digital files of participants' boards will be used to determine the finalists who will be invited to present their projects in D.C. Please ensure your design materials are clear, concise, complete, and include sufficient and compelling information to stand independently of the written responses.

Submit your project!Submission Guidelines


The competition registration and final digital board(s) must be submitted online by March 4, 2017. Please be aware of these important dates:

March 4, 2017: All entries must submit your project online

March 31, 2017: Deadline for team representative(s) from each group to make their hotel reservation for Washington, DC.

April 7, 2017: Mentors and students confirmed their hotel reservations in DC (finalists will be notified with hotel information).

April 24, 2017: Finalists present to the CIRT Panel of Judges (Exact information on date, time, and place will be provided to finalists).

Want to learn more about ACE Mentor Program?

At this time, the CIRT National Competition is only open to students who have partnered with an ACE Mentor chapter. If you are interested in learning more about the ACE Mentor Program, or finding a local chapter, please visit their website.