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industry insider
Millennials meet boomers in new design contest
Apr 16, 2018
Katy B. Olson

A new industry competition inspired by the popular “MAKING ROOM” EXHIBITION at the National Building Museum is now live. The brainchild of The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation, HomeAdvisor, and the National Building Museum, the “Making Room: Housing for a Changing America” Student Design Competition asks students who attend colleges and universities in the Washington, D.C., area to design for a retired couple.

A scene from "The Open House" at the Making Room exhibition; courtesy Yassine El Mansouri
A look at ‘The Open House’ at the ‘Making Room’ exhibition; courtesy Yassine El Mansouri

Specifically, the students will have to design a living space that is “flexible [and] employs universal design concepts,” with a budget of $50,000 or less. The winners will receive scholarships, and their work will be spotlighted at the National Building Museum.

“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,’” noted the partner organizations. “The Open House” is a hallmark of the exhibit, and is noted for its efficient layout, moveable walls and multiuse furniture, designed for roommates, a multigenerational family, and downsizing retirees.

“At ASID, we believe that design impacts lives. As an association that represents the design industry among designers of all specialties and career stages, we are proud to support the ‘Making Room: Housing for a Changing America’ Student Design Competition,” said Randy Fiser, CEO of ASID. “The students who enter the competition represent the future of our profession and will need to employ universal design and evidence-based design principles as they enter the workforce. This is a great opportunity for students to practice real-world design before graduation. ASID and the National Building Museum appreciate the generous support of HomeAdvisor in helping us to make this competition a reality.”

The contest is limited to the D.C. area because students are expected to attend the “Making Room” exhibition at the National Building Museum as part of their research. “We’re excited to present even more options and ideas for how seniors can downsize at an affordable price point,” said Chrysanthe Broikos, architectural historian and curator of the museum exhibit. “It is our hope that the submissions from our student competitors will provide inspiration and a new perspective on flexible, affordable housing alternatives for seniors.”

Scholarships in the amount of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000 will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place winners, and the finalists’ designs will be featured on a flat screen monitor within “The Open House” from June 1 until the exhibit closes in September.

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