flexible housing

CIRT Challenge: Design a Flexible Home

2018 National CIRT Design & Construction Competition Challenge

This challenge is open to the DiscoverDesign community. Yet, to be eligible to compete 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.


Challenge Brief:

Design a modular, ultra-flexible, middle-class home that can be easily expanded, contracted or split during the lifetime of its owners. Design and construct a basic, minimum footprint module that can accommodate reasonable living spaces for a one- to multi-person household. The module must consider affordability, feasibility, changeability and be no more than three stories. Use of materials, building techniques, structural elements and approaches should emphasize sustainability as well as being equipped with the latest smart building and security technologies.

Define and/or describe the problems and challenges you faced when deciding on the design project you chose to do.

Collect Info

Gather information about the site, users and flexible homes.

Gather as much information as possible about your chosen location’s topography, climate and primary audiences. 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.

About the Challenge and the Site:

Design and construct a basic module or ‘shell’ that can accommodate a reasonable living space, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom for a –initially- one or two-person household.

  • The site is a typical rural/suburban area.
  • A specific site can be selected to facilitate the presentation, but is not required. Assume that there are no complex planning restrictions.
  • The site is not able to accommodate anything more than three stories high.
  • You should indicate how parking for up to four vehicles can be provided.

Brainstorm Ideas

Document your ideas throughout the process.

As ideas come together, upload sketches, floor plans, bubble diagrams, aerial maps, material studies or prototype models of your initial ideas.

Be sure to clearly demonstrate how this unit/home can be easily ‘extended’ using other modules – such as bedrooms, bathrooms or other accommodation units.

The module(s) for the home must be buildable within a range affordable to likely buyers. Consider the starting budget and/if it will allow for funds for future changes.

Develop Solutions

Work towards your final design.

Use of materials, building techniques, structural elements and approaches should emphasize sustainability, energy efficiency and recyclable eco-friendly products, as well as being equipped with the latest smart building and security technologies.

Dimensions, size, costs, etc. must be determined and explained. Provide a square foot cost estimate.

Think About:

Describe any social, ecological or otherwise beneficial qualities of your design solution. For example, is it a universal design? How so? Is it environmentally friendly? Does it use cost-effective or recyclable materials?

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.

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.

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
  • life and activities, in and around the building, including the qualities of enclosed spaces showing furniture, fittings and finishes

Upload your final images, text and renderings for your final presentation board.

ACE Teams: All work must be submitted to the competition portal by 5:00pm EST on March 7, 2018 in order to qualify for jury review.

Ready to join the competition?

Submit the required materials by March 7.