Design a net zero energy, mixed-use building in Seattle, Washington’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. The building should include residential spaces that are affordable to Rainier Beach residents. Its ground floor should accommodate a use (commercial, educational, or community space) that serves the neighborhood goals outlined in “Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update, March 9, 2012, Final Draft.” These include, but are not limited to, lifelong learning, healthy living, and/or equitable economic development. One example might be a green building training facility that empowers local residents to participate in the construction boom on the neighborhood and city. The building’s design should respond to the urban design and transportation priorities outlined in the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update.

site-map-smDesign Site

The 125′ x 225′ design site is made up of a combination of the parcels at 8808 and 8824 Rainier Ave. South, Seattle. It is adjacent to the track facility for Rainier Beach High School and across the street from the Rainier Beach Community Center. Zoning for the site is NC2-P40, with a maximum Floor to Area Ratio (FAR) of 3.25 to 1, maximum height of 40’. (NOTE: While NC2-P40 zoning sets maximum building size at 50,000sf, this competition assumes that the “deep green” nature of this building enables a variance so that the full FAR of 3.25 to 1 is allowed. Also note that zoning allows height extensions for ground floor retail [4′] and for rooftop structures like PV and food production [15′]. See FAQ for more detail.) Because the site is served by frequent transit, there are no parking minimums.

The community opportunities identified by the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update will provide the real world context for this year’s competition. For more about the Rainier Beach community refer to this from the City of Seattle’s Office of Planning & Community Development.


rainier-beach-square-plan-mapMap of Beach Square from Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update

(NOTE: Strategy 4 on Page 25 of the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update specifically mentions this design site by saying “Work with…Payless Shoes to add complementary ‘pop-up’ or food cards in their parking lots in order to add activity at the street corners.” For the purposes of the perFORM 2016 competition, the Program identified in these guidelines supersedes this strategy.)

The competition is open to architectural students and architectural interns based in the US and Canada.

Student Eligibility – Students enrolled in an architectural program at an NAAB or CACB accredited school during the 2015/2016 academic year. Note that students enrolled in a non-professional architectural program (e.g. BA in Architectural Studies) are eligible, provided that program is offered by an NAAB or CACB accredited school.

Intern Eligibility – Unlicensed professionals (at time of registration to competition) either: 1. Enrolled in the Intern Development Program or 2. Having graduated within the last six years from an architectural program at an NAAB or CACB accredited school.

Each submission shall include:

  • Completed perFORM 2016 energy verification package demonstrating that the submitted design achieves a net zero balance between energy consumption and onsite energy generation. This package includes an Energy Consumption & Generation Report as well as Energy Modeling Documentation (summary data from your software of choice plus a 400-word maximum energy modeling narrative).
  • Three 30” x 40” color boards in landscape format, presented as a single digital file in PDF format. Total file size must be 15mb maximum. Submissions should include sufficient information to convey the design. As called for in the board template guidelines, the boards shall be labeled with the applicant’s ID number and include the following:

1st Board: Site and first floor plan. Perspectives. Design narrative (400-word maximum) describing how the entry meets the energy, design, and community goals of the competition (see “Jury & Judging Criteria” below.)
2nd Board: Upper floor plans and roof plan.
3rd Board: North, east, south, and west elevations. Flex space for sections, unit plan(s), etc.

Upon receiving registration applications, Hammer & Hand will issue each registrant an ID number that must appear on each board. No other identifying information should be included, as entries will be presented and judged anonymously. The presence of other identifying information will be grounds for automatic disqualification. All files submitted must be named using the ID number (ex: I101.pdf.)

Email your submission to no later than 5:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Friday, July 15, 2016.

The jury consists of architects, contractors, and architectural professors from the Pacific Northwest. Professor Rob Peña of University of Washington is this year’s perFORM advisor. Submissions will be judged in three main categories:

  1. Energy:Submissions must include a performance analysis using the perFORM 2016 energy verification tool that demonstrates the submitted design’s net zero (or better) balance of energy consumption and onsite energy generation. Judges may award additional credit for submissions that are significantly net positive in energy use.
  2. Design:Submissions will be judged on resourcefulness, replicability, and beauty. Adaptability also be considered.
  3. Community Response: How well does the design respond to the community opportunities outlined in the Rainier Beach Neighborhood Plan Update.

The jury will award $6,000 in prizes, with award categories at the jury’s discretion. Award winners will also receive publication online and in print.

• No entrant shall receive or be entitled to receive any payment as a result of a submission or for granting the promoters any right here in or associated with the competition except an award pursuant to the rules herein.
• Competition open to residents of US or Canada only.
• Hammer & Hand has the right to publish without prior consent all materials submitted to this competition.
• The presence of identifying information, other than the applicant’s ID number, upon submissions will be grounds for automatic disqualification.
• All work submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s original work. It is the entrant’s sole responsibility to ensure that the work submitted does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party, including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, and design right.
• The decision of the jury shall be final and binding on all parties, and no disputes shall be entertained.
• Competitors must not communicate with the jury about the competition in any way until a public announcement of the winners is made.
• Award winners are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use.
• Rules and regulations are subject to change without notice.