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Shaker Design Competition Calls for Innovative Housing

Design-build teams challenged to transform vacant lots into sustainable middle-income housing

Dateline: October 7, 2016 - Can a city that is known for the architectural excellence of its historic homes also be the community that builds the next generation of housing? Shaker Heights is determined to be that city. It announces the Shaker Design Competition.

The Competition challenges architect-builder teams to design innovative, energy-efficient middle-income housing on specific lots in the southern Moreland neighborhood. This vibrant and historic neighborhood was hit hard by the housing crisis and economic downturn, and its stability threatened by foreclosed and deteriorated homes. The City chose to proactively demolish these homes and obtain tax abatement on the vacant lots in preparation for future development. The Shaker Design Competition invites teams to be at the forefront of development in this neighborhood by submitting groundbreaking designs for these lots that will entice a new generation of homeowners to Moreland.

Winning entries will emphasize energy efficiency, accessibility, and lifestyle options, such as working from home. Winners of the competition will earn a cash prize and qualify to enter into development and use agreements for construction in Shaker Heights. Construction will begin spring/summer 2017. These designs may well demonstrate what is possible when a community is mobilized by and executes on a progressive housing strategy.

“The impact of the housing crisis was unprecedented. Communities must respond with an equally bold recovery plan,” says Mayor Earl M. Leiken. “Pairing the challenge of a design competition with the commitment to build is a bold plan, and demonstrates our continuing pledge to offer quality housing options.”

Director of Neighborhood Revitalization Kamla Lewis explains the proactive stance to diversify our housing stock, “Moving forward, potential residents will see a Shaker Heights with historic homes, transit-friendly condominiums and apartments, and appealing new housing alternatives.”

Teams may submit their plans online at Submissions will be judged by a jury of nationally and regionally renowned housing, design and urban planning professionals.

Listed below are members of the Shaker Design Competition jury:

  • Terry Schwarz, Director, Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC) — Ms. Schwarz launched the CUDC’s Shrinking Cities Institute in 2005 to study and address the implications of population decline and large-scale urban vacancy in Northeast Ohio. She holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and has extensive experience in neighborhood planning and green infrastructure strategies.

  • Marc Norman, Founder, Ideas and Action — Mr. Norman is a nationally recognized urban planning professional with more than 20 years of experience in planning, community development and finance. The previous director of UPSTATE at Syracuse University School of Architecture, Mr. Norman now operates a consultancy that focuses on housing and urban development. He earned his Master’s in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles.

  • Brian Phillips, Founder, Interface Studio Architects LLC — Mr. Phillips is a practicing architect whose design work has received several awards, including the American Institute of Architects Philadelphia Silver Medal. He has experience on a number of residential, urban and infill projects.

  • Jennifer Coleman, Senior Program Officer for the Arts, The George Gund Foundation — Ms. Coleman is a Cleveland-based architect who has chaired the Cleveland Landmark Commission and the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee. Prior to her work at The George Gund Foundation, Ms. Coleman was president of her own design firm. Ms. Coleman earned her degree in Architecture from Cornell University.

The City’s Competition partners are Ingenuity Cleveland, Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability, and the Cleveland Design Competition.

For more information on the Shaker Design Competition, visit or contact Kamla Lewis, Director of Neighborhood Revitalization, 216-491-1374.

Monday, June 18, 2018


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