the Alleyway Project

The Alleyway Project

Submission: July 11, 2021
Registration: July 11, 2021
Language: English
Location: USA
Prizes: Please see details below
Type: Open, Architecture, Design, Public Art


The Ann Arbor Art Center’s Art in Public Program is please to announce an open invitation to architects, designers, engineers, and artists from around the world to take part in The Alleyway Project: Activating Ann Arbor’s Alleys through Art design challenge. The challenge is an investigation into the importance and potential of auxiliary pedestrian spaces throughout Ann Arbor, and the creation of space within our existing 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 assembled on site within a two week schedule. Certain elements of the exhibit must be able to be left standing for a minimum of at least one year while other elements may be deemed temporary and removed shortly after the events planned around the Ann Arbor Art Center’s opening event in fall of 2021.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 $10,000-$15,000* 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 Ann Arbor Art Center’s opening event planned for early fall – exact dates are still to be determined.

Design GuidelinesDesign

CriteriaHabitability & Safety
The proposed artwork / installation should be an inviting space that welcomes passersby to both move freely through the space or linger and gather in the space. It must also not obstruct pedestrian and vehicle right of ways and must generally meet the safety standards of the City of Ann Arbor. Note that many of the potential sites are also service corridors that require vehicular trac in order to service the many businesses adjacent to these alleys — the proposed artwork / installation will have to respond accordingly.

Engaging & Interactive
The proposed artwork / installation should engage the general public and invite interactivity with the work itself and its context.

Spatial & Experiential
The proposed artwork / installation should define space at a human scale and should promote a variety of experiences or happenings to occur both in a serendipitous and programmed fashion throughout the year.

The proposed artwork / installation should have a sense of identity that creates beauty and significance.

Constructibility & Longevity
As this is a public space, the artwork / installation elements must be constructed of materials that are highly resistant to theft and vandalism as well as appropriate for Michigan’s four season climate — the artwork / installation should be designed for a minimum duration of one years time.


We invite any and all creatives to participate in the The Alleyway Project: Activating Ann Arbor’s Alleys through Architecture Design Challenge. While teams are not required, multidisciplinary groups are highly encouraged including, but certainly not limited to professional architects, architecture firms, students, designers, engineers, builders, and artists.


Up to four finalists will be funded* to construct their installations before the upcoming A2AC opening event in early fall. All finalists will be recognized on the project website and will receive recognition throughout the year in multiple publications through the Ann Arbor Art Center.


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