Grad Student Teams Vie to Design Louisiana Affordable Seniors Housing

HUD has picked finalists from among student-led teams from universities across the country as part of a competition to encourage innovation in affordable housing design and planning.

Washington, D.C.—HUD has picked finalists from among student-led teams from universities across the country as part of a competition to encourage innovation in affordable housing design and planning. Soon, one group of graduate students will be tapped as the winning team for its solution for redevelopment of an affordable seniors housing high-rise in Houma, La.

According to the agency, the Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning Competition seeks to “encourage research and innovation in affordable housing, to raise practitioner and future practitioner capacity, and to foster cross-cutting team-work within the design and community development process.” HUD and the Houma-Terrebonne Housing Authority (HTHA) asked students to consider the challenges associated with rehabbing the current structure or demolishing it and creating new construction, and then come up with a plan that would allow HTHA to meet its goal affordable housing to area seniors.

The four finalist teams are:

  • University of Minnesota–Members Hilary Lovelace, Ryan Allen, Erika Brown, Atticus Jaramillo and Zachary Zweifler designed a new construction development. While focusing on intergenerational relationships, the design features 252 ADA-accessible units, passive ventilation and rain gardens, as well as a pavilion and outdoor classroom.
  • University of California, Los Angeles–Members Laura Krawczyk, John Whitcomb, Luis Ochoa, Edith Medina Huarita and Precy Agtarap proposed a gut retrofit of Bayou Towers. The rehab features universal and active design throughout, as well as a rooftop community garden and digital literacy intergenerational programming.
  • University of Kansas–Members Savannah Greenlee, Ashton Martin, Kyle Killian, Tu Tran and TaylorMonsees designed a new construction that features an Intergenerational Living Laboratory to provide health services and research relating to physical, emotional, mental, and social health. The development also features numerous design elements that facilitate aging in place.
  • New York University–Team members Constantine Caloudas, Christopher Hayner, Matthew Jupin, Pete Lovanella and Michelle Gruber created a new construction development which includes retail space and an Early Childcare Center. A variety of on-site services and activities are offered to address the needs of the community.

The finalists will visit the project site on March 18 to hear from local HTHA staff. The competition will end on April 21 with a final presentation at HUD headquarters in Washington.  A jury of five—including academics, practitioners, planners and architects—will hear the presentation of the student finalist teams. The first place team will receive $20,000, while the runner up will receive $10,000.