2017 National DiscoverDesign Competition

Announcing the 2017 National DiscoverDesign Competition

About the Competition

The annual National DiscoverDesign.org Competition is a nationwide ideas competition which challenges participants to think outside the box and use the design process to create solutions to real-world problems. The competition is free to enter and is hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring people to discover why design matters.

Design a Library + Community Space

There are 79 public libraries in Chicago that serve as community anchors, and spaces where people can come together for civic and community activities. Yet, not everyone has access to a library within walking distance of their house. Design a Chicago public library on 75’x125’ lot in the Little Italy neighborhood to improve access to this public resource. Your design must:

  • be engaging, attractive, safe and accessible for all ages.
  • enhance the unique qualities of the site and local community.
  • show evidence of your research and thinking.


library challenge winner
Image submitted by Paolo Vazquez, the winner of the 2013 National DiscoverDesign Competition.


All of the following requirements must be submitted to the competition portal by 5:00pm CST on November 17 in order to qualify for jury review:

  • Completed design challenge on DiscoverDesign A completed design challenge must include at least one description, one image per step of the design process, and a header image of your design
  • One (1) overall image showcasing your final design (jpeg)
  • URL to your completed design challenge
  • Written statement (150-200 words) addressing: How does your design benefit the local community?
  • Written statement (150-200 words) addressing: What materials have you included in your design and why?


To be eligible for judging, applicants must:

  • Be at least 13 years of age by September 15, 2017
  • Participants must be between 13-18 years old, and/or enrolled in high school.
  • Complete all of the Submission Requirements detailed above
  • Submit individually or as a team up to 5 students


  • September 1: Competition opens
  • November 30: *DATE CHANGED* Registration closes; Submissions due
  • December 12: Jury day
  • December 15: Winners announced


The jury will select ten finalists to compete for first, second and third place.

FIRST PRIZE: Economy-class roundtrip flight for 2 from within the 50 United States to the city of your choice, $100 cash prize & framed certificate

SECOND PRIZE: $250 cash prize & framed certificate

THIRD PRIZE: $150 cash prize & framed certificate

FINALISTS: Framed certificate

EDUCATORS: The primary sponsoring educator for the top three winners will receive a gift card for classroom supplies.


If you have any questions about the competition, Contact Us

Ready to join the competition?

Complete the design challenge, submit the required materials by November 30.