The Michigan “MISSING MIDDLE” Housing Design Competition

Submission: May 22, 2015
RegistrationApril 06, 2015
Language: English
Location: Michigan, USA
Prizes1st Prize $10000, additional prizes $5000


As the demand for living in urban environments continues to strengthen across the State of Michigan, the need to accommodate the growing contemporary housing market has become much more apparent.

While certain types of housing have been developed to meet the demand, such as adaptive re-use conversions and higher density single-family residential projects, there are still a number of housing typologies that have not been commonly built. This “Missing Middle” Housing type is one that consists of very affordable medium density residential units, typically inserted into tight sites in previously developed areas and within pedestrian-oriented environments.

There is considerable variation in the urban environments of Michigan. However, there are physical elements, materials, uses and site orientations that can be identified as indicative of Michigan specifically and the Great Lakes Region generally. Consequently, design solutions proposed for this “Missing Middle” Michigan Housing Design Competition should strongly consider these context and regional issues as an important part of the development of any responsive and creative design concept submitted.

The competition is open to everyone everywhere. Professional licensure or certification is not a requirement for participation. Competition entrants will need to research “Missing Middle” Housing typologies and design a proposed “Missing Middle” Michigan Housing solution that would achieve medium-density yields and provide high-quality, cost-effective, marketable options between the scales of single-family homes and mid- rise apartments. They are to be designed to meet the needs of society’s shifting demographics and are therefore a key component to achieving a diverse neighborhood character once developed. For further information refer to the included “Missing Middle” Housing diagram.

Proposed design solutions should be appropriate for the context of the selected site and in accordance with the CNU Charter of the New Urbanism, and specifically Transect Zones T4 or T5 (also known as Context Zones C-4 and C-5). Designs are to reflect a regional vernacular character and be contextually sensitive. An emphasis should be placed on regional materials that have been utilized in Michigan’s communities and exhibit characteristics that define residential architecture in Michigan. The sponsoring organizations are most interested in demonstrating how affordable and creative design solutions can spur economic development, enhance communities, support local placemaking, encourage sustainability, promote human well being, and improve the quality of life in our existing neighborhoods.

The intent of the competition is to award a cash prize to the winning entry for each one of the three potential sites described below. The top 1st place winning entry across all three sites, as determined by the jury, will receive the top cash prize of $10,000.00.

Additional cash prizes will be awarded by the jury not to exceed $5,000.00 each. However, the final decision regarding the number and cash amount of additional awards is left wholly to the discretion of the jury panel and may or may not include a winner for each one of the three potential sites. Honorable Mention awards may also be given at the discretion of the jury but do not carry a cash prize award. The total prize money pool available for all prizes to be awarded in the competition is $20,000.00.

This competition was publically announced and launched on Monday, January 26, 2015. Timely Registrations should be submitted by 4:00pm EDT on Monday, March 16, 2015. Entries are due not later than 4:00pm EDT on Monday, May 11, 2015. Winners will be advised not later than on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Refer to the Application for additional schedule information.

It is planned for the competition’s winning entries and designers to receive broad public exposure in Michigan and they will be recognized and celebrated at one or more significant industry events in 2015, dates and locations to be determined. It is currently planned that the winning awards program/symposium will take place in late-June 2015.