water management

2020 CIRT CHALLENGE: Water Resource Management and Preservation

2020 National CIRT Design & Construction Competition Challenge

This challenge is open to the DiscoverDesign community. Yet, to be eligible to compete in the CIRT competition applicants must be a participating ACE Mentor Program student and enter with a team of three or more students and ACE Affiliate(s). See CIRTcompetition.org for details and download the competition packet.


Define the problem you are solving for by writing a success statement. What is the key problem, who are you solving for and what solutions are you proposing?


Water: the life sustaining precious resource that also has importance to commerce, connectivity, and community. Water can also be an unpredictable force of nature, capable of destroying or wiping out structures, terrain, buildings, and lives. How we manage, harness, preserve, and use this vital element relies greatly on ingenious design AND construction solutions. This project option calls upon the teams to delve into the challenge of water resource management through use of damns, locks, levies, canals, grading, and reservoirs, etc. Critical to success in this challenge is focusing on damns and other water infrastructure. Students can either propose a new solution entirely or renovate/replace/restore an existing facility/system.

Collect Info

Gather information about the site, users and water resource management.

Gather as much information as possible about your chosen location’s topography, climate and primary audiences. Site selection is critical and must be fully explained. Show a before and after photo. 

Upload images, notes, sketches, land use maps and other helpful resources that show your thinking. You can leave notes for your team in the comment section.

Brainstorm Ideas

Document your ideas throughout the process. 

As ideas come together, upload sketches, maps, material studies or prototype models of your initial ideas. Brainstorm materials, building techniques, structural elements, environmental impacts, and approaches that emphasize sustainability and energy efficiency.

No matter new, renewed, or updated, to take on this challenge you must demonstrate:

  • the importance of your site selection [before vs. after site development],
  • explain why is it critical to undertake your proposed plans,
  • how the use of materials/construction adds value,
  • balance of functionality and design,
  • environmental impacts, security, and construction approaches

Develop Solutions

Work towards your final design.

Take your preliminary ideas and form multiple small-scale design solutions. Create digital or physical models that help articulate your more developed ideas. Discuss them as a team and make final decisions.

Demonstrate specifically how using construction elements (including work flow/time lines, etc.) will achieve the challenge’s goals. Explain the dimensions, size, costs, materials, etc. determined by the team. All decisions should be explained and warranted based on the real world resources likely to be used for such a proposal. Lay-out the solutions as well as provide a cost estimate (per foot) to address the needs that is realistic and doable for the resources/financial support likely available in the locale.

Final Design

Describe your design process, approach and impact.

Thoroughly describe your design process, in writing and through visuals (e.g., sketches, renderings, stepped process, before and after, budgets, timelines, etc.) that meet the precise or exact nature of the challenge and/or the client goals/needs.

Due to the likely displacement and logistical problems this project will create in a community, the proposal must include the precise CONSTRUCTION steps, stages, demolition, and remedies for these problems.

Think About:

Explain how your design approach is an appropriate, innovative solution that realistically responds to the precise design competition problem.

Explain how your design is different from other approaches or processes, if such is the case. How does your design address budgetary constraints, timeline issues or other challenges?

Describe and/or demonstrate what you learned from this design competition.

The following design and construction aspects will be jury evaluation criteria, and should be explained where appropriate:

  • site selection and its context (built and/or natural)
  • constructability (structural challenges, materials, textures, colors, etc.)
  • strategy for sustainability
  • surrounding landscape/external spaces

Upload your final images, text and renderings.

ACE Teams: All work must be submitted to the competition portal by 12:00pm (midnight) CST on March 3, 2020 in order to qualify for jury review.