dupont circle competition

Re-think Dupont Circle

Submission: December 04, 2020
Registration: December 04, 2020
Language: English
Location: Washington, DC
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open


Building on the success of our first international competition, the Dupont Underground is launching a second competition: Re-Think Dupont Circle. One of the key public spaces in Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s famous urban plan for the nations capital, Dupont Circle was not built out until the late 19th century and has not seen a significant redesign since the 1940’s when the automobile was ascendant. We feel it’s well past time to rethink Dupont Circle as a social, human-centered, public space.

The competition covers the immediate urban area of Dupont Circle (the exact scope is at the discretion of each participant) and takes place at two scales — macro and micro — that must be interwoven through concept and design. We encourage entrants to thoroughly read and research the history of the Dupont Circle.


This portion calls for entrants to speculate how Dupont Circle can be re-designed as a contemporary urban space. While the Circle’s design has not changed since the 1940’s, today the area looks it’s age: out-of-date, isolated by surrounding traffic lanes, lit like a crime scene at night, and inadequate to its potential as a great public space. As a landmark within the city and common meeting place for residents, we ask entrants to speculate on potential new urban scenarios which facilitate social exchange, community activities both day and night, public protest, and free citizen interaction so critical to healthy, democratic life.


The “Micro” element of the competition focuses on the space over the main entry stair to the Dupont Underground on 19th Street and it’s immediate surroundings. Specific to the spatial relationship of the Dupont Underground galleries to the park above, the design should:

• Mediate the transition from outside to inside

• Alert the public to the galleries below grade

• Shelter the stair from the elements

• Design a lighting system

• Provide a mechanism for closure

• Distinguish it from the nearby metro entries

• Improve the adjacent sidewalk and patio area

• Refer to the larger “Macro” concept.

This stair entry design is to become a landmark within This stair entry design is to become a landmark for Dupont Circle and a “proof-of-concept” for the other seven stair entries that could ultimately frame the Circle in a further series of competitions. The design should focus on the area above the stairs and include suggestions to improve the site from the sidewalk to the building face as indicated by the dashed lines in the photo.


The competition is a single-stage competition, with a first prize, a runner-up, and five honorable mentions. If the winner is unable to proceed with the installation for any reason, the runners-up will be called upon in order of selection by the jury. The jury will select the winning submissions based on design excellence, response to the problem, spatial relationship to the site, and appropriateness of construction. The deadline for submissions is 11:59:59 p.m. (EST) on Friday, December 4, 2020.Winning entrants will be notified by January 29, 2021 and requested to subsequently help develop construction drawings for submission to the Dupont Underground for technical review. Design development will involve input from the organization to ensure that construction is feasible and within budget. The Dupont Underground will provide a small construction team, to be directed by the organization and the winning designer. The Dupont Underground will also assist in recruiting contractors as needed to see the project to completion. Upon completion of the technical review, the winning design team will be asked to help prepare final construction drawings for necessary design review and permitting for the buildout of the “micro” element at the main stair.


The competition is open to students, architects, designers, urbanists, engineers, artists, makers, activists and anyone interested in the transformation of contempo-rary urban space. Participants can join the competition either individually or with a team. Pleaseclick hereand follow the instructions.

Early registration: $100: Monday, August 17, 2020 to Sunday, September 20, 2020 – 11.59 PM EST

Standard registration: $150: Monday, September 21, 2020 to Sunday November 22, 2020 – 11.59 PM EST

Late registration: $200: Monday November 23, 2020 to Friday, December 4, 2020 – 11.59 PM EST

>>> Go to the competition’s website <<<