Competition Brief

2015 DC Affordable Living Design Competition Brief

The Washington DC Metropolitan Area can claim many accolades in sustainability.  In 2006, the city council passed the landmark DC Green Building Act requiring green building standards be raised in two years.  In 2008, DC passed the Clean and Affordable Energy Act establishing energy benchmarking requirements for government and private buildings.  Today DC leads all US cities in the number and square footage of both LEED and ENERGY STAR certified projects on a per capita basis.  With the 2015 DC Affordable Living Design Competition, the DC Living Building Challenge Collaborative has created an opportunity to achieve the highest goal in sustainable development, to build a certified Living Building in Washington, DC.

The DC Living Building Challenge Collaborative (DC LBCC) is part of the International Living Future Institute (ILFI.)  The ILFI created the Living Building Challenge (LBC) to inspire and pull the market forward.  LBC is the world’s most ambitious building performance standard.  International in its reach, the Living Building Challenge uses the metaphor of a flower deeply rooted in its place, providing the opportunity for each building to use local resources, history and culture to become self sustaining.  ILFI recently published the “LBC Affordable Housing Report” which can be found on the Resources page.

The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) has been fundamental in incorporating the Living Building Challenge into the fabric of the DC’s sustainable language.  In 2013 ILFI, the new buildings institute (nbi,) and Skanska wrote a comprehensive paper prepared for by the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs and Sustainable DC, DDOE called, “Net Zero and Living Building Challenge Financial Study: A Cost Comparison Report for Buildings in the District of Columbia”  The study conceptually transforms three LEED Platinum Buildings, office new construction, multifamily new construction and office renovation, into Living Buildings.  Along with other government agencies, DDOE also recently completed extensive work restoring the Watts Branch Watershed where the competition site is located. 

The DC LBCC is working closely with the DC Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD.)  DHCD has provided the development site which is a Property Acquisition and Disposition Division (PADD) site.  PADD acquires vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties in the District, combats blight and creates market rate and affordable housing opportunities for DC residents.  Upon completion of the competition, the winning design will be considered by DHCD and potentially implemented to the extent practicable.  Elements of other strong design submissions may also be incorporated in the final development.  DHCD’s mission is to develop homes that are affordable as well as sustainable.  Economic viability will be a major determining factor in the judging process.  Review Submission Guidelines for additional information.  Please note that this is a design competition not a Request For Proposal.   

The address of the competition site is Dix St and 58th St, NE, Washington, DC.  (Square 5228 Lot 0044.)  Deanwood’s rich cultural history, the importance of the community’s ecology, the local housing market and planning goals, DHCD would like to see these sites developed as 10 to 15 single family affordable townhomes.

The competition format incorporates the LBC process of collaboration.  DC LBCC will host three design CharrettesEach Charrette will include presentations by local expert guest speakers on each of the 7 Petals of LBC version 3.0Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty.  Following the speakers, there will be a pin up and discussion of each team’s work.  Charrettes will be held at monthly collaborative meetings located at DDOE.  These meetings are an opportunity for entrants to present their ideas to the guest speakers, ambassadors and collaborative members to gain valuable feedback.  As a way to facilitate discussion and collaboration, each team is required to have at least one team member in attendance for each Charrette to present the current state of their design.  Refer to Timeline for Charrette details.  6 CEUs (LFA: Living Future Accredation) total for three Charrettes.  (2 CEUs per Charrette.)

Download Competition Flyer – PDF
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