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Unprecedented shifts in demographics and lifestyles have redefined American households, but housing options have not kept pace. Smart technology, environmental sustainability, and demands for healthy living all require 21st-century solutions. Making Room: Housing for a Changing America, an exhibition currently on view at the National Building Museum through September 2018, focuses on the mismatch between the diversity of our households and the homogeneity of our housing. The exhibition explores new housing options—offered at all levels of the market—from micro-units, tiny houses, and accessory apartments, to cohousing, co-living, and beyond. The exhibition’s centerpiece, The Open House, features a hyper-efficient layout, movable walls, and multifunctional furniture. The flexible space addresses the needs of three prototypical households: roommates, a multi-generational family, and retirees looking to downsize. While The Open House is beautiful and impressive, it is not inexpensive.


The American Society of Interior Designers Foundation, HomeAdvisor, and the National Building Museum challenge students to create an affordable design solution for a retired couple looking to remain in their 1,000 square-foot home and age-in-place. The design should embrace the same goals of flexibility and seamless universal design—which inherently makes things easier, more usable, or accessible for the greatest number of people, including older and younger individuals and people with, and without, disabilities—incorporated in The Open House. First ($2500), second ($1500), and third ($1000) place scholarships will be awarded to the top finalists. The designs of the three finalists will be featured on a flat screen monitor within The Open House at the National Building Museum from June 1, 2018, through the end of the exhibition’s run in September 2018. Please download the full competition detail to begin your design and chance to win.


Feb. 8, 2018  Competition Opens
Apr. 11, 2018 All Submissions Due (Submissions will be accepted until 11:50 p.m. EST.)
May 1, 2018    Finalists informed: First, second, and third place
 June 1–Sept. 16, 2018  Winning designs shared on a monitor within 
The Open House at National Building Museum
July 20, 2018 Winners awarded at a special ceremony at the National Building Museum
1152 15th St. NW, Suite 910 Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 202-546-3480 | Fax: 202-546-3240