Design Star Competition for Affordable Housing

Student Finalists Present at Pappajohn Center Saturday

Design Star Competition for Affordable Housing

Over 50 students are participating in a competition to design an affordable home for a fictional Des Moines family. The competition is part of Affordable Housing Week, April 15-20, spearheaded by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund. Beginning at 9:00 AM Saturday (April 20), the students’ work will be on public display at the Pappajohn Center in the Western Gateway, 1200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines.  At 10:00 AM five students will be asked to present and defend their work to a panel of judges. The event is free and the public is invited.

Participating as individuals or teams, the students were given the biography of a working family of six in need of affordable housing. Interests and needs of various family members were outlined as well as limitations on costs. A vacant, in-fill lot in Des Moines was chosen as the site.  (For the Family's Profile click on the link below.)

Within these limitations the students were asked to design the most appropriate affordable home for the family. They were assisted by local architects from ASK Studio of Architects Schipper Kastner who coordinated the competition and volunteered their time to visit the classrooms.  Jamie Malloy of Improve Consult also assisted in the classroom critiques.

Justine Bangert of ASK Studio, one of the contest's creators said, “The definition of affordable housing often has a social stigma attached to it. As architects, we strive to challenge design issues such as this every day. This event will be a great way to educate the community on what ‘affordable’ actually means and how it doesn’t have to look any different than the house next door. We look forward to seeing the students’ solutions and how they interpret affordable housing.”  

A $2,000 scholarship is being provided to the overall winner by The Homebuilders Association of Greater Des Moines’ Professional Women in Building and two additional prizes of $500 each will also be provided by ASK Studio and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.  “As soon as I heard the concept I knew we would lend our support,” said Creighton Cox, Executive Officer of the HBA of Greater Des Moines.  “This is more than a design competition; it’s a real-life education and partnership on the challenge and importance of providing affordable housing.” ASK Studio and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund launched the competition in February by inviting area high schools to compete.  Participants are from Ankeny, Dallas Center-Grimes, Des Moines Central Academy, Johnston, North Polk, and Urbandale.

Family Profile