Design a community amenity to improve the quality of life for a Chicago south or west side neighborhood.
The CAC Teen Design Challenge is an opportunity for young people, ages 13 to 18, from all Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs, to contribute their ideas to current, real-world design challenges.
Youth may enter as individuals or as teams of up to five people. A jury of design professionals will review student submissions to select finalists to compete for first, second, and third place prizes. Winners receive varying cash prizes up to $500.
The Chicago Architecture Center’s Teen Design Challenge invites teens to respond to the following prompt: In response to the City of Chicago’s current initiative INVEST South/West design a community amenity to improve the quality of life for local residents in Chicago’s South and West side neighborhoods.
Examples of community amenities may be public spaces like parks and community centers, affordable housing options, transportation improvements like CTA access or bike lanes, and/or public art. Submissions should be thoughtfully designed for specific locations and residents in one of the following Chicago neighborhoods:
- Auburn Gresham
- North Lawndale
- Humboldt Park
- Quad Communities
- New City
- South Chicago
- South Shore
- Your own neighborhood!
- Free to enter
- Open to students from Chicagoland area
- Open to students ages 13-18
- Teams up to 5 students may enter
The jury will select finalists to compete for first, second, and third place prizes. Challenge winners will receive the following cash prize amounts:
- 1st Prize $500
- 2nd Prize $350
- 3rd Prize $250
- Honorable Mention $100
*Team entries will receive one prize amount to be shared.
Mid-June Challenge Open
July 13-17 Live virtual support available via Zoom (Monday-Friday, 1-2p)
July 31 Challenge closes
Early August Juror Review + Winners Announced
CAC staff are available for support Monday through Friday, July 13-17, from 1pm to 2pm via Zoom. To ensure all students’ safety, participants must register on the Competition Portal or email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive the Zoom call information.
In response to the City of Chicago’s current initiative INVEST South/West, design a community amenity to improve the quality of life for local residents in Chicago’s South and West side neighborhoods.
Examples of community amenities may be public spaces like parks and community centers, affordable housing options, transportation improvements like CTA access or bike lanes, and/or public art.
What neighborhood are you interested in designing for? Or you can choose the neighborhood where you live.
Define your design challenge by writing a "how might you" prompt:
"How might I design a __[pick a community amentity]__ for the __[pick a neighborhood]__?"
Each Chicago neighborhood has a unique identity and story to tell. The City of Chicago has defined priority corridors in each neighborhood. What area will you design for?
Think about: What do you know about the neighborhood? What is so unique about the neighborhood corridor you chose? What might the people who live there want to see in the community? How might you find out?
Try this: Talk to local residents to learn more about what they'd like to see in their community. Look online for different community resources like access to grocery stores, public transportation, parks etc. Could there be more of those resources in the corridor?
How might your design highlight the special features and unique story of the neighborhood? What initial ideas do you have?
Think about: As you were researching your neighborhood, did you find any resources that there could be more of? Or could be improved?
Try this: Do some quick sketches to get your ideas on paper. Make a list of all the special features your design may need. Find some inspiration images online, in magazines, or go out and take some pictures.
You may brainstorm new ideas throughout the entire challenge. Upload sketches and images here to show how your ideas change over time.
Put your brainstorm ideas into action. Pick one or two of your ideas to focus on.
Select a media you want to work in. Projects may be 2-dimensional, 3-dimensional, and/or digital. Any materials or combination of materials are acceptable to submit (pencil, paper, recycled materials, photographs, collage, etc.)
Think about: What media best conveys my ideas? How might I push my idea to better meet the needs of the community?
Try this: Pick your favorite brainstorm sketch or image and recreate using a new media. What might you change about the first sketched idea - why? How can you improve it?
Upload your in-progress work. Write down your thoughts and questions.
Where did your ideas take you? Share your final work and in writing explain what key issues or opportunities does your design address in order to improve the quality of life for your chosen neighborhood?
In order to be eligible for jury review and challenge prizes, work must be submitted to the Competition Portal.
What do I need to submit?
Students must submit at least digital image of their completed design and a short written response (300-500 words) to the following prompt:
How do I submit?
- Go to the competition portal.
- Sign in or create a login.
- Select the Teen Challenge
- Complete the required registration questions, essay, and upload your file.
- Click "SUBMIT."
Final projects must be submitted to the online portal by 12:00a, midnight on July 31, 2020 to be eligible for jury review.