Tiny Homes Competition

Submission: January 30, 2016
Registration: January 30, 2016
Language: English
Location: Chicago, USA
Prizes: 1st Prize: $5,000 & demonstration unit construction
Type: Open


AIA Chicago announces a nationwide Tiny Homes Competition, encouraging students, architects, designers and the public to plan and design a community of tiny homes for unsheltered homeless young adults, ages 18 to 24.

According to the 2015 Chicago Homeless Count and Survey, 31% of the unsheltered homeless population are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old. This competition both raises awareness of younger homeless populations while also providing viable design solutions to a contemporary social issue.

In order to provide genuine context and conditions for the submitting architects and designers, the specifications of a grouping of real, vacant sites in a Chicago neighborhood where affordable housing might be developed will be used. Competitors are encouraged to consider location and tenant needs while envisioning the 10-12 tiny homes and adjacent communal space mandated in each competition entry.

The competition is being held in conjunction with Chicago’s first-ever Tiny HomesSummit, taking place April 18 and 19, 2016, at the University of Illinois – Chicago. The winning submission will receive a $5,000 award, in addition to a $5,000 fee to obtain architectural drawings of their final design. Their prototype tiny home will be constructed full-scale and exhibited during the summit.


Assume that the housing module and communal space need to comply with City of Chicago code IVA construction (combustible frame construction in which the structural elements, including enclosing walls, are entirely or in part of wood or other materials not more combustible than wood). See more description under division 6, type IV here.

Meet the following minimum energy requirements:

    •   Minimum wall assembly = R21
    •   Minimum roof assembly = R48
    •   Maximum window assembly = U.30


This Design Competition is open to all with the following exclusions:

  •   Entries shall not have been previously published in any competition publication, whether printed, online or otherwise
  •   Entries shall not have been selected as finalists, winner, honorable mention, etc. in any other competition


  •   Winner will receive $5,000 award and opportunity to construct a full-size demonstration unit
  •   Winner will receive an additional $5,000 fee to develop construction drawings. If the winner is not a licensed architect in the state of Illinois, winner must team up with a licensed architect in Illinois to produce the construction drawings
  •   Winning design will be constructed by an outside group as full-size demonstration model and exhibited in conjunction with the Tiny Homes Summit, April 18–19, 2016, at the University of Illinois- Chicago.
  •   Winning projects and teams will be promoted in a local and national press release; and, featured in Chicago Architect magazine. All submissions will be displayed online.


  • The jury will review the submission and select the finalists based on these criteria:
    •   Compliance with all submission requirements
    •   Adherence to the design parameters
    •   Believable constructability within identified budget parameters
    •   Suitability of design for intended use
    •   Aesthetic merit
    •   Responsiveness to neighborhood and site context

Go to the competition’s website