Housing+ San Francisco 2050 Design Competition

The Design Challenge

Let a crisis become an opportunity! New rules intended to grow more density offer designers a chance to rethink the San Francisco home. Send us your visions for 21st century duplexes and quadriplexes that offer up innovative approaches to lifestyle and architectural style, and show that the single family house is not the only dream home in California. As society grapples with challenges including homelessness, a changing climate and social fragmentation, consider forms of housing that are light on the earth, obtainable in cost and social in nature.

Frances Anderton, Author & Former Host | DnA on KCRW (Los Angeles)

Registration + Submission Deadline

Submission portal opens on February 3, 2023. Submission portal closes on May 1, 5:00 PM (PST) (“Deadline”). Registration and Submission must be received by the Deadline.

In order to participate, Participants must complete registration through the Housing+ Design Competition website: www.aiasf.org. Only one Submission per registration is permitted. Multiple registrations are permitted.

To register, each Participant must first agree to the terms and conditions of this Competition Brief. By registering, participating, and/or making a Submission, all Participants agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the Competition Brief and agree that all decisions about the Competition are in AIASF’s sole discretion and binding in all respects. AIASF reserves the right not to consider or not to make an Award to any Participant that does not comply with the terms and conditions of the Competition Brief in all regards, at AIASF's sole discretion.

SUBMIT PROJECT

Registration Fee

To register, a non-refundable, registration fee in the amount set forth below must be paid for each Submission before the Deadline. Registration fee covers one submission. Multiple registrations are allowed.

Early Bird Registration: March 31, 2023
AIA Member: $150
Non-AIA Member: $225
AIA Student Member: $40
Non-AIA Student Member: $55
*Copies of student identification will be required as proof of student status for all members of student submission teams.

Final Registration: April 28, 2023
AIA Member: $200
Non-AIA Member: $275
AIA Student Member: $50
Non-AIA Student Member: $65
*Copies of student identification will be required as proof of student status for all members of student submission teams.

Submission Deadline: May 1, 2023, 5:00 PM (PST)

Competition Details

Overview

The Housing+ San Francisco 2050 design competition seeks design ideas and typologies that address an ongoing housing crisis. How to increase available housing while embracing the character and scale of this city? A large percentage of the city’s land zoned for residential use is designated for single-family homes only. While California Senate Bill 9 (SB9), The California H.O.M.E Act, and proposed San Francisco-focused legislation aim to redress the inequity inherent in current land use patterns, many areas are still affected by being down-zoned from multi-unit to single-family-only in the late ‘70s. This competition seeks solutions for innovative new housing typologies for the city of San Francisco that look to the future, creating more equitable and resilient urban communities.

As architects, designers & urban planners, we must address global warming, and therefore, we encourage each submission to address sustainable design solutions that address the local climate of San Francisco. Design proposals can use the AIA Framework for Design Excellence as a general guide and for inspiration and also integrate the general energy conservation principles of Passive House.

https://www.aia.org/resources/6077668-framework-for-design-excellence

https://passivehousecal.org/what-is-passive-house/

Map of SF single family zoned areas

During AIA San Francisco’s 2022 Housing Symposium (see “Housing+ | Future Typologies for a Livable and Equitable San Francisco”), a vital discussion highlighted the extraordinary benefits SF could enjoy in denser neighborhoods that provide housing that centers on community and social connection. With increased housing density and a variety of types, comes diversity, improved mass transit, mutual security and understanding, a sense of community, and neighborhood connection. With increased housing, neighborhoods will grow with walkability to local merchants, schools, services, and community centers. With increased housing availability and options, rents and housing costs will come down, and working families can return to the city.

The competition seeks to raise the issue of housing development to the top of the political and popular agenda. Entries will offer designs to inspire the next generation of residential growth in San Francisco.

Historical Context

San Francisco’s many tech booms and its rare beauty attract people from all parts of the world and place it in the heart of this country’s housing crisis. A large percentage of the city’s land has been limited to single-family-only use since 1978, when the city's residential areas were downzoned to limit growth. These zoning requirements effectively excluded access to people of color and limited means thereby creating redlined elite neighborhoods. In the past 20 - 30 years, broad swaths of middle to low-income San Franciscans have been forced to leave the city due to ever-escalating rents and exorbitant home prices driven by scarcity.

Neighborhoods on the city's west side have seen virtually no growth in the past 50 years. Housing built in San Francisco is concentrated in downtown, South of Market (SoMa), and parts of the Mission. Fewer than 10% of the 82,000 units mandated by the state of California’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) have been built this past year.  Many entities in the city, from the Mayor’s office to YIMBY and housing organizations, support increased housing density and are looking to the west side for opportunities to help solve the city's housing needs with equitable, inclusive, and affordable neighborhoods.

Part of the down-zoning that occurred in the late 1970s resulted in eliminating multi-unit housing in all but selected neighborhoods in San Francisco.  According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, this single-use zoning can be traced to a single day, September 18, 1978 (Buss, April 21, 2021)  when the board of supervisors voted to essentially make apartments illegal in all but a handful of neighborhoods. It is estimated that apartment buildings are illegal in about 76% of San Francisco.

From 2015 to 2021, the city permitted 24,600 units to be built, a little over 3,500 units annually.

According to the latest Housing Element, S.F. needs to build over 82,000 new units from 2023 to 2030, which means building more than 10,000 units per year starting in 2023. That's almost triple the city's recent pace. https://sfhousingelement.org/final-draft-housing-element-2022-update-clean

Design Goals + Categories

Design Goals

San Francisco has a rich history of housing typologies, including two and three-flat buildings on single lots and Victorian and Edwardian single-family homes. In some neighborhoods, including the Richmond district and Noe Valley, 4-unit apartment buildings are common on corners built in the 1940’s. The organizers envision new typologies of multi-unit buildings integrated into the existing urban fabric of the city’s western neighborhoods, including the Richmond and Sunset districts.

Two types of lots are being reimagined, the single-family midblock lots and the corner lots of these western neighborhoods. Each lot type is being re-imagined to include multi-story and multi-unit buildings at the same time that the SF Planning Department is modifying these two zoning designations in the current edition of the Housing Element to provide more housing and eliminate single-family zoning.

There are two design categories, located in The Sunset, a prototypical western neighborhood block:  the Midblock Parcel and the Corner Parcel.  While participants can choose to submit on both Parcel types, each Parcel will be a separate entry and must follow the submittal guidelines described in section IV.  Below is a more detailed description of the design criteria for each Parcel type. 


Design Categories

Category 1 : Midblock Parcel

The typical mid-block parcel measures 25'-by-120'. Select Parcel A or B. 

Submit a design that responds to the following: 

- Fits into the neighborhood context but pushes the envelope on density, height and unit typology.

- Provides an increase in density compared with the typical surrounding context. While proposed legislation seeks to upzone single family parcels and accommodate 4-6 units this competition has no maximum on the number of units. Additional units are encouraged.  

- Provides a variety in unit type options and arrangement (studios, one bedrooms two bedrooms or three bedrooms). More units and creativity of unit typologies is encouraged,  there is no specific unit type requirement.

- Ensures that each unit has adequate access to light and air, while considering privacy for both the property and for neighbors. 

- Provides sufficient usable open space, either shared or private, that can be accessed by every unit.

- Provides a rear yard and retains a space that is respectful of the aggregate midblock open space and is compatible in height and scale with the existing mid-block open space. 

- Is sensitive to its surrounding context in terms of height and massing.  While the current zoning height limit is 35’-40’ measured from the midpoint of the average slope, for the purposes of the competition, there is no height limit.  However, understanding context and the qualitative issues around scale, height and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood is expected. 

- Provide indoor bike parking of one space per unit. No car parking spaces are required.

- Complies with applicable codes and standards including exiting and accessibility (chapters 10 and 11 of the CBC).

Category 2 : Corner Parcel

While corner parcels dimensions vary, the most typical corner parcels measure 32.5'-by-100' or 25’-6”-by-95’ which are the dimensions for this competition. Select Corner Parcel A, B C or D.

Submit a design that responds to the following:

- Fits into the neighborhood context but pushes the envelope on density, height and unit typology.  Corner lots are seen as opportunities for increased height, density and the number of units while still being respectful of the adjacent neighborhood.

- Provides an increase in density compared with the typical surrounding context. At corner lots additional units are especially encouraged. While proposed legislation seeks to upzone single family parcels and accommodate 4-6 units this competition has no maximum on the number of units.

- Provides an active ground floor at street level. A mix of uses including public amenities or some commercial uses is encouraged.

- Provides a variety in unit type options and arrangement (studios, one bedrooms two bedrooms or three bedrooms). More units and creativity of unit typologies is encouraged, however, there is no specific unit type requirement.

- Ensures that each unit has adequate access to light and air, while considering privacy for both the property and for neighbors.

- Provides sufficient usable open space, either shared or private, that can be accessed by every unit.

- Is sensitive to its surrounding context in terms of height and massing.  While the current zoning height limit is 40’-50’ and in some cases 65’ measured from the midpoint of the average slope, for the purposes of the competition, there is no height limit.  However, understanding context and the qualitative issues around scale, height and compatibility with the surrounding neighborhood is expected.

- Provide indoor bike parking of one space per unit. No car parking spaces are required.

- Complies with applicable codes and standards including exiting and accessibility (chapters 10 and 11 of the CBC).

Background Drawings Provided

Download files via Dropbox

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation will be based on a variety of factors including physical architectural response as well as social, economic and programmatic factors listed below. The competition sponsors seek new housing typologies that will foster new forms for San Francisco’s future. What is your vision and how will it help San Francisco address the housing crisis, be more inclusive and climate resilient by 2050?

1. Architectural Response

Sensitivity to Context & Livability. Part of the evaluation will be based on the architectural response to the challenges of density and context. While the higher the density the more feasible a project typically is, the entrants should demonstrate a response that includes sensitivity to the context.

Approach to Cost and Construction Innovation.  The ability to create typologies for midblock and corner lots that can be easily replicated, potentially reducing construction costs and streamlining the approval/permit process, is strongly encouraged. Part of the evaluation will be based on this and on finding new typologies that can grow a new city.

Responsiveness to Sustainability, Climate & Resilience. Incorporating affordable sustainability concepts related to energy conservation, energy generation and the concepts within the AIA Framework for Design Excellence and within Passive House are encouraged. While it is understood that the principles of sustainability will be too detailed to fully vet within the scope of this competition, using these guidelines as a way to inform and enrich the design is encouraged.

2. Social Economic Programmatic factors to be considered.

Three questions that can be considered within the narrative: The competition sponsors aim to encourage diversity, feasibility and community benefit. In the design team’s narrative, please respond to these three principle questions.

How will this be built and who’s building is this? It is encouraged that the model for development doesn’t follow the traditional developer-architect-builder path, and that an alternative narrative for development and financing is described. Alternative models for development such as a community development model, commercial development, or land trust should be considered within the narrative.

Who will live here? It is encouraged that some level of research is done to understand who the housing is to be built for. Is there a target population or economic market group that will live here? Elements to consider include how to increase diversity.  Providing multiple housing units types could accommodate diverse lifestyles of families, multigenerational families, couples and individuals. Consider alternative arrangements, such as co-living and co-housing; consider rethinking traditional bedrooms, common areas and amenities.

What are the benefits and who benefits? It is encouraged that along with the above factors, the design of the project could benefit specific user groups as well as the community and neighborhood as a whole. The narrative should describe economic viability, defining strategies for affordability, whether ownership or rental, as well as the potential socio-economic benefits to the community.

Submission Requirements

* 350-word (maximum) narrative in a PDF file. Consider questions mentioned in above in Design Goals + Categories section.

* Compose submittal on two 24” x 36” sheets oriented vertically and upload as one (1) PDF file which includes a 50-word summary statement placed on one of the submittal sheets;

Be sure to include the following exactly as noted at the bottom right corner of each sheet:
Parcel Type_Project Name

Parcel Types:

* Mid Block Parcel A
* Mid Block Parcel B
* Corner Parcel A
* Corner Parcel B
* Corner Parcel C

List of Deliverables:

* Site plan with proposed design inserted into partial block context at a reasonable scale to illustrate the surrounding area and street(s). 

* Floor plans with furniture at ⅛” = 1’-0” (minimum) required. Ground floor plan to show adjacent context.

* Site section(s) to include the entire parcel at ⅛” = 1’-0” minimum and showing the relationship to the surrounding buildings and street.

* Exterior elevations including adjacent context elevations at ⅛” = 1’-0” minimum. 

* Renderings of exterior views in context 
     - Convey proposed vision for San Francisco 2050

* Renderings of interior or indoor-outdoor spaces to convey livability
     - Three-Dimensional (3-D) renderings of exterior are encouraged.

* Provide diagrams to convey the design concepts 

Recommended minimum resolution 300 dpi

Max file size: 800MB for entire submission

Awards

A grand prize of up to $10,000 with other prizes that total over $20,000 in awards!

Honorable Mentions at discretion of jurors

Exhibition

Selected entries will be exhibited at the A'23 National Conference held June 7-10th and during the Architecture & The City Festival in September.

Jury

JURY CHAIR
Anne Torney
Principal | Mithun

JURY
David Winslow
Principal Architect | SF Planning Department

Eric Shaw
Director | Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development

Frances Anderton
Author & Former Host | DnA on KCRW (L.A.)

Hector Perez
Founder & Graduate Director | De Arc & Woodbury School of Architecture

Notification of Finalists

AIASF will notify Participants who qualify to win Award Prizes through the contact information provided during registration for any individual Submission and the Lead Participant for any other Submission. Participants, including all Lead Participants, are solely responsible for providing accurate contact information and keeping contact information current throughout the Competition. If for any reason, AIASF is not able to contact a Participant or a Lead Participant for any Submission which qualifies to win an Award Prize after reasonable effort is made, the Award Prize may be forfeited and an alternative Participant chosen to win the applicable Award Prize.

AIASF reserves the right to determine eligibility for a finalist before making Award Prize and to require each individual or firm Participant for a submission to confirm agreement to the terms and conditions of this Competition Brief before any Award Prize is made or paid out. 

License + Right to Use Submission

By making a Submission, Participant grants permission and a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free nonexclusive license to AIASF, and its affiliated entities and those working with or involved in the Competition with AIASF, to use, reproduce, creative derivative works, perform, display, distribute, copy, post, make models of, and otherwise share the Submission on any media now known or developed in the future with full design team credits. AIASF shall have the right to use or not use any Submission in any manner or medium it chooses. 

Waiver of Right to Publicity

Each Participant understands that promotional images and events will be highlighted in various local and national media outlets as part of the Competition’s activities and closing events. By making a Submission, Participant agrees that AIASF may use Participant’s name, likeness, biographical information, signature, voice, photo and/or video to promote this Competition and the goals of AIASF and its affiliated entities, worldwide and in perpetuity, in any and all forms of media and print, now known and hereafter devised, including without limitation on the Internet, without restriction as to frequency or duration, and without compensation, consideration, notification or further permission, except as prohibited by law. 

Right to Make Submission

A valid Submission may not contain material that violates or infringes another person’s or entity’s rights, including but not limited to any privacy, publicity or intellectual property rights, such as trade secret, proprietary rights, copyright or trademark. By making a Submission, Participant further agrees that he or she understand that any ideas, suggestions, and/or concepts included in your Submission may be publicly disclosed and be available for comment. Participant waives all rights, claims and any cause of action that Participant may have against AIASF or any third parties associated with this Competition related to any ideas, suggestions and/or concepts that may be disclosed in the Submission and any comments about any such ideas, suggestions and/or concepts that may be made.

By making a Submission, Participant represents and warrants that, consistent with the terms and conditions of the Competition Brief: (a) the Submission is Participant’s original work; (b) Participant owns the copyright in the Submission; (c) the Submission does not violate, in whole or in part, any existing copyright, trademark, trade secret, proprietary rights or any other property rights of any other person, organization or entity; (d) any third-party content included in Submission is not protected by copyright or Participant has a license to use the content for any purpose, specifically including the Competition; (e) Participant is unaware of any agreement that is inconsistent with the Competition Brief terms and conditions ; (f) Participant is not disclosing the confidential, trade secret or proprietary information of any person or entity; (g) Participant has full power and all legal rights to register and make a Submission; and (h) Participant acknowledges that your registration information, registration fee and Submission cannot and will not be returned. 

Release

By registering for the Competition, Participant agrees to the terms and conditions of the Competition Brief and the decisions of AIASF, and its affiliated entities and parties to this Competition, on behalf of Participant and each of Participant’s respective heirs, executors, administrators, legal representatives, successors and assigns (“Releasing Party”), and Participant agrees to release, defend and hold harmless AIASF, its parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, associated entities, professional advisors, and other parties to and assisting in this Competition, and their respective officers, directors and employees (“Released Parties”) from any and all causes of action, suits, debts, dues, sums of money, accounts, reckonings, bonds, bills, covenants, contracts, controversies, promises, lost profits, indirect or direct damages, consequential damage, incidental damages, punitive or exemplary damages, judgments, claims and demands whosoever, in law, or equity, whether known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen, which any Releasing Party has or may ever had, now or hereafter, arising from or related to the Competition, the preparation of any entry materials, or delivery, misdelivery, acceptance, possession, use of or inability to use any Award. Further, the Releasing Party hereby expressly waives all rights afforded by any statute or doctrine that limits the effect of a release, with respect to unknown claims.

Indemnification

By entering the Competition, Participant agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless AIASF, its officers, directors, employees, owners, parent entity, affiliates, agents and licensees, and any other parties involved with or assisting in this Competition from and against any and all claims, actions, demands, and liabilities, including those raised or brought by third parties, and any costs and expenses, including, without limitation, reasonable attorney and professional fees and costs and other expenses of any nature incurred in the investigation and defense of any such claims resulting from breach of any provision of the terms and conditions of this Competition Brief, or any representation or warranty provided herein, or otherwise arising in any way out of entry into the Competition, whether now known or unknown, or anticipated or unanticipated. AIASF reserves the right to take exclusive control and defend any such claim otherwise subject to indemnification by Participant, in which event Participant will cooperate fully with AIASF in asserting any available defenses. 

General Provisions

The Competition shall be governed by and interpreted under the laws of the State of California without regard to conflict of law provisions. By entering the Competition, Participant agrees that any disputes, claims causes of action or controversies arising out of or in connection with this Competition shall be resolved by the State and Federal courts covering California which shall have sole jurisdiction of any controversy regarding or arising from the Competition or the terms and conditions of the Competition Brief. BY REGISTERING FOR, AND MAKING A SUBMISSION TO, THE Competition, PARTICIPANT WAIVES ANY AND ALL OBJECTIONS TO JURISDICTION AND VENUE IN THE COURTS COVERING CALIFORNIA AND SUBMIT TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE AND FEDERAL COURTS. Further, Participant acknowledges and agrees that Participant may only assert claims on Participant’s own behalf and not on behalf of any other person or entity arising from or in connection with the Competition. For a list of Participants winning Awards or a copy of this Competition Brief, visit the Competition website at www.aiasf.org.

Privacy

By entering the Competition, Participant agrees that any information provided may be used according to the terms and conditions of the Competition.

Q&A

Questions regarding the competition can be posted to this Google Doc, and will be answered in a timely manner.

Deadline for submitting questions: March 24, 2023

All questions will be answered by March 31, 2023.

Housing+ Exhibition

Tentative dates

A'23 Conference - June 7-10, 2023

Architecture & The City Festival - September 2023

Questions

For competition inquiries:
Claire Hansen, AIASF Programs Associate 

For media inquiries:
Matt Donohue, AIASF Communications Manager

For sponsorship inquiries:
Raul Orellana, AIASF Development Associate

For general inquiries:
info@aiasf.org | 415.874.2620

Thank you to our Housing+ Sponsors!

Silver Level

 

 


Bronze Level


Copper Level

Cahill Contractors

Goldstein, Gellman, Melbostad, Harris & McSparran, LLP

Patrick Bell