CIRT Challenge: Revitalize an Urban Block

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 for details and download the competition packet.


Challenge Brief:

Design solutions to enhance and stimulate new living and civic appropriation systems on a block wide scale. Proposed ideas should promote the revival of old usages, encourage the emergence of new activities and enhance job development. The challenge requires evidence of interdisciplinary skills including strategic site selection, structural rehabilitation or replacement, transportation, open or recreational spaces and other mixed use functions.

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 existing structures.

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.

Teams should propose operational strategies and choose a specific area, which must be justified and explained.

This option challenges teams to tackle the task of urban regeneration and renewal of an entire block. Present ideas that will enhance and consider your chosen block’s existing users and built environment.

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.

The challenge requires consideration of interdisciplinary skills such as site selection, planning, structural rehab or replacement, open spaces, transportation, mix use purposes, etc. and critical thought. Make sure you consider each aspect throughout the design process.

Structures can be added, demolished, rehabilitated, repurposed, etc. Provide a rationale.

Develop Solutions

Work towards your final design.

What is included, changed, added, eliminated, etc., is up to you and your team. All decisions should be explained and warranted based on the resources (including the cost) likely to be attracted to such a proposal.

Provide square foot cost estimate.

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.