AIASF Announces Design Competition Awardees Addressing San Francisco’s Housing Crisis 

July 10, 2023

Media Contact:
Sophia Teng, AIASF Communications Coordinator

AIASF Announces Design Competition Awardees Addressing San Francisco's Housing Crisis

(San Francisco) The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco (AIASF) is pleased to announce the awardees of the AIASF Housing+ San Francisco 2050 Design Competition, which the chapter initiated to address San Francisco’s housing crisis.

Congratulations to the firms selected to receive the following prizes:


Honor Award: $10,000
Firm: West of West Architecture & Design
Project: Sunset Steps

Merit Award: $2,000
Firm: Kennerly Architecture and Planning
Project: Sunset Lanterns

Merit Award: $2,000
Firm: Martin Fenlon Architecture
Project: Six From One

Merit Award: $2,000
Firm: Object. Territories
Project: Carved Terrace Block

Citation: $1,500
Firm: ISA
Project: In Our Back Yard

Citation: $1,500
Po-Yu Chung
Project: Housing Is Infrastructure

Student Honor Award: $1,000
Awardee: Blayne Fulton
Project: Redefining the Garden City

AIASF’s Housing Knowledge Community invited architects to rethink the San Francisco home after recent California legislation was proposed that would effectively eliminate single-family exclusive zoning; additionally, San Francisco approved the 2022 San Francisco Housing Element requiring 82,000 new housing units by 2031.

The sites for competition entries were generic mid-block and corner lots typical of those in neighborhoods on the City’s west side, where housing development has been stalled for generations because of down-zoning in the 1970s. This competition aims to address the City’s growing population by proposing new housing types to increase density, enabling more equitable and attainable housing and greater neighborhood vitality. 

Recognizing San Francisco’s unique cultural and environmental characteristics, the  AIASF Housing+ San Francisco 2050 Design Competition sought creative solutions that could add much needed housing while remaining sympathetic to community values. AIASF intends the outcome of this competition to portray a new urban vision for a more equitable and affordable City, while retaining the vibrancy, eclecticism and connection to nature that are intrinsically San Francisco. Recognizing the current housing crisis is not only a local issue, the chapter sought a diversity of approaches by inviting firms nation-wide to submit designs. Awardees included firms from New York and Philadelphia as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco.  

The competition, which opened up for submissions in March 2023, invited competitors to imagine multiple dwellings on mid-block parcels and corner lots in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Jurors were asked to evaluate entries based on dwelling quality, constructability, the potential to foster community, as well as aesthetic and environmental benefits.

“The competition is a result of several years of dialogue among members of the AIASF Housing Knowledge Community about the housing crisis, learning how we got here, and imagining ways we might get beyond the current shortage,” said Paul Adamson, FAIA, 2022 AIASF Board President and Co-Chair of the AIASF Housing Knowledge Community. “The recent state and local legislation, effectively up zoning previously single-family-only parcels, suggested a clear opportunity for designers to respond.” 

Sarah Willmer, AIA, Principal and founder of Studio Sarah Willmer and Co-Chair of the AIASF Housing Knowledge Community added, “The competition is intended to raise the issue of housing development to the top of the political and popular agenda. AIASF anticipates submitted designs will generate discussion between local citizens, policy-makers and the design community, ultimately inspiring a new shared vision for the City’s future.”

AIASF assembled a diverse panel of design, policy, and architectural experts to serve as the jury for the competition, which included:  


- Anne Torney, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner, Mithun (Jury Chair)
- Antje Steinmuller, Chair, Bachelor of Architecture program, CCA
David Winslow, Principal Architect, San Francisco Planning Department
Eric Shaw, Director, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development
Frances Anderton, Author/Former Host of DnA, KRCW (Los Angeles)
Hector Perez, Founder & Graduate Director, De-Arc & Woodbury School of Architecture  

“The submittals received delighted jurors in their seriousness of engagement with this challenge as well as in their range and ingenuity of approaches,” said Anne Torney, AIA, LEED BD+C, Partner at Mithun and Housing+ Jury Chair. “While we had to limit our recognition to a small group, we look forward to sharing more, as there were many beautiful, replicable proposals for evolving the City’s beloved neighborhood fabric to welcome more San Franciscans.”

Competition design entries will be exhibited at the new Center for Architecture + Design’s 20th Annual Architecture + the City Festival (September 8-30, 2023).

Housing+ Design Competition Sponsors

Silver Level


About AIA San Francisco | Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Serving the Bay Area for over a century, AIA San Francisco (AIASF), is committed to enhancing the quality of life in the Bay Area by promoting excellence in architecture, design, and the built environment. AIASF represents members practicing architecture, as well as allied community professionals in San Francisco and Marin counties. As a resource for our members and the public, AIA San Francisco strives to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area through community involvement, education, advocacy, public outreach, and member services.

About the Center for Architecture + Design |, | Instagram Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
The Center for Architecture + Design (the Center) is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to creating a public-focused dialogue on architecture, design, and the built environment in the San Francisco Bay Area. Established in 2005 by the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Center enhances public appreciation for architecture and design through virtual and in-person exhibitions, lectures, tours, film series, and other programs, including the annual Architecture + the City festival. Located on the street level space of the historic Hallidie Building, the Center was designed by a "Community of Builders," spearheaded by Aidlin Darling Design, BCCI, and Salter. AIA San Francisco’s new Center for Architecture + Design will inform, educate, and inspire innovative ideas about architecture and design in the Bay Area.