Perkins and Will have selected the winning projects for this year’s edition of the Phil Freelon Design Competition. Entitled “Arroyo” the 2020 laureate is “a self-sustaining community that embraces the diversity of New Yorkers”, designed by Vangel Kukov and Hala El Khorazaty. Imagining co-living strategies to combat the housing crises in America, the annual event gathered entries from Perkins and Will studios around the world.
The annual Perkins and Will design competition, formerly known as the Design Leadership Council (DLC) Design Competition, addressed this year the growing need for affordable housing, across the U.S. A friendly firm-wide contest that fuels creativity and collaboration, the contest tackled the concept of co-living in our growing technological age as a solution to address high costs of living, gathering entries from sixty-eight design teams from around the firm.
Creating an affordable co-living concept that incorporates a shared economy, social networking, collaboration, and increased density, teams were free to choose from one of three real-life sites: an industrial building New York City’s West Village neighborhood; a vacant asphalt lot in the historic Lodo area in Denver; and an industrial warehouse in downtown Los Angeles’s arts district. A panel of jurors from outside Perkins and Will assessed each submission and selected the winners. Read on to discover the winning project, joint winners for the second position, and three projects to receive the Merit Awards.
Vangel Kukov and Hala El Khorazaty
Converting an industrial building in the West Village of Manhattan into a multi-generational, multi-cultural residential and civic hub that builds and strengthens community, Arroyo transforms a lifeless space into an activity hub. Introducing a plan for subsidizing residents’ monthly rent in exchange for community service, the project takes on principles of social equity. Taking in the first place because of its practical yet innovative solution to providing affordable housing for a diverse range of people, the intervention envisioned by Vangel and Hala seeks to strengthen the residents’ sense of community and thrive.
We know that a community is only as strong and as healthy as its individual members, so harnessing the principles of Living Design—inclusion, well-being, sustainability, resilience, regeneration—was really important to our concept. The Phil Freelon Design Competition reminded us just how powerful design thinking can be when it comes to creatively tackling society’s most pressing issues. -- Hala El Khorazaty
Second Place Winners
Giancarlo Gastaldin and Gaia Cella
The Living Closer team chose to focus on all three sites—New York, Denver, and Los Angeles—by implementing a modular system that can easily respond to unique climate conditions and site-specificity. Its prefabricated units can be disassembled, replaced, reused, and recycled over the course of the building’s lifespan to allow for expansion or downsizing, as needed. Jurors appreciated the team’s creative investigation into different unit types, as well as the diversity of ages, races, and ethnicities they included in their project’s renderings.
Foad Faizi, Smith Marks, and Allen Pratt
The Our Backyard team focused on a modular system concept in New York. The designers created a flexible framework that allows living units to be arranged in multiple ways, catering to the lifestyle of young professionals. An open plan concept empowers tenants to become active participants in the community while taking advantage of the site’s existing green space and its view. This strategy further maximized daylighting and created a better visual connection to the site and its surroundings.
Other Commendable Projects
Richard Schunemann, Vaia Vakouli, and Thomas Henderson Schwartz
Like an aspen grove—a group of individual trees but is actually a single organism stemming from the same root, Aspen Cooperative is rooted in interconnectivity. The team’s modernist scheme demonstrated well-executed planning that seamlessly integrates all sustainable elements in its cross-laminated timber structure.
Mahdiar Ghaffarian, Hannah Gibson, Alyssa Quiring, and Rick Browner
The Pivot team designed a flexible, modular approach to housing built around choice and community culture. Its affordability allows individuals to transform their physical space and are incentivized to share space, resources, and amenities to contribute to affordability and social connection.
Max Hu, Qian Yu, and Zhoufan Chen
The Sponge is an ambitious prefab model that maximizes density. It offers its occupants unique housing styles and views throughout the building. The building’s voids and open space allows ample daylighting, creating spaces that foster a sense of community.