Passageways architecture competition

Passageways: Activating the Urban Alley through Architecture

Submission: May 23, 2016
Registration: May 23, 2016
Language: English
Location: Tennessee, USA
Prizes: $5,000-$10,000* for the construction of the winning submissions
Type: Open International Design Competition


AIA Tennessee and River City Company are pleased to announce an open invitation to architects, designers, engineers, and artists from around the world to take part in the Passageways: Activating the Urban Alley through Architecture design challenge. The competition is an investigation into the importance and the potential of auxiliary pedestrian spaces throughout Chattanooga, and the creation of space within our existing connected alleyway network.

The overall program of the competition is meant to be free and open to anyone. We are asking that you design a spatial installation that is habitable and can be adapted for use as a small public event space. The design must be safe for public use and have the ability to be constructed within a week’s schedule. Certain elements of the exhibit must be able to be left standing for a minimum of at least year while other elements may be deemed temporary and removed shortly after the events planned around the AIA Tennessee State Convention, August 24-26, 2016.

The design proposal should intelligently and creatively optimize the surrounding urban context of the site to create a thoughtful, engaging, and well-designed space. Participants should consider the constructibility of their designs along with schedule and budgetary constraints. Each submission selected as a funded installation will receive between $5,000-$10,000* for the construction of their design. Our selection committee will be looking for proposals that best utilize the surrounding context and best meet the design criteria.

The winning Design Teams will also be required to be present during the AIA Tennessee State Convention, August 24-26** with a public opening the evening of the 24th.


We invite any and all to participate in the Passageways: Activating the Urban Alley through Architecture Design Challenge. While teams are not required, multi-diciplinary teams are highly encouraged including, but certainly not limited to professional architects, architecture firms, students, designers, engineers, builders, and artists.



The design should allow for, even promote gathering opportunities – the main design will be highlighted at a number of gathering events including the AIA TN convention August 24th-26th, 2016.


Interactivity with users, with the public, and with the urban environment – creating opportunity to stimulate curiosity and engage the passer-by.


While the space will be used for the AIA Tennessee State Convention in August, it will be required that certain elements be left up for a minimum of 6 months to a year. Other elements can be more “pop-up” in nature and be installed and removed for planned events.


The selection committee will be looking for submissions that are thoughtful, well designed, and seem to have a thorough understanding of how their installation is constructed within the given time-frame and budget.



A perimeter and containment definition of appropriate height, continuity and character to create an urban room and define a recognizable place, a sense of “there.


An aesthetic that moves us – the space, the activity, and physical fabric are appealing, renew our spirit and delights our senses.


Personality that is about something – atmosphere, mood, activity that creates a distinct energy, pace, vibration about its role in the urban fabric of the city.


An aesthetic that moves us – the space, the activity, and physical fabric are appealing, renew our spirit and delights our senses.


A positive place that is life-affirming, safe, secure and a joy to be in while still offering choices and options with ample opportunities to move and be in a variety of settings from intimate to congregational.


a place that tells a story, one that is meaningful that creates value and enhances our own identity – a space with substance, weight, density, depth.


A place that connects to the larger community context and contributes to the broader environment, partners with other places, and interacts with its immediate neighbors.


A space that engages our senses and emotions – one that touches our humanity and invites us to enjoy the fullness of our feelings and sensations.


MAY 23: Submissions Due
JUNE 01:  Design Jury to Select Finalist
JUNE 13:  Announcement of Funded Projects
AUGUST 08: Begin Constructing Installations
AUGUST 15:  Installations Complete
AUGUST 24 AIA Tennessee / River City Company Public Opening



Digital submittals only – no hard copies will be accepted. Entrants must upload their submission no later than May 23, 2016 (11:59pm EST). Fill out all contact information in the registration form and follow prompts and instructions on-line. Proposals will be evaluated on their submitted design board.


Project submission must include one portrait oriented 24”(w)x36”(h) board saved in .jpg format. The resolution must be 72dpi.
NOTE: Should you be selected as a finalist, you will be asked for a 300dpi version of your board for printing.
The board must include the following:

• Drawings as required to understand your design intent including, but not limited to , plans, sections, perspectives, renderings, etc

• A project statement of no more than 500 words

• Board must be free of personal identification markers other than as specificed    at registration

• digital files should be saved as instructed at the time of registration



After the submission deadline, all entries will be evaluated by our design Jury (to be announced at a later date) based on the submission’s response to the design criteria and overall clarity of the presentation board. As many as 20 finalists will be selected and contacted to submit a brief written summary of the constructibility of their project and a short budget proposal. These brief summaries will be evaluated and a short-list will be compiled to move on to the second part.


All selected Part 2 participants will have their submissions go before a local committee of community leaders and artists to select the design finalists.


Up to five finalists will be funded* to construct their installations before the upcoming AIA Tennessee State Convention on August 24-26. All finalists will be recognized on the project website and will receive recognition throughout the year in multiple publications through both AIA Tennessee and the River City Company.

Go to the competition’s website