CIRT National Design & Construction Competition


"Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."– Lou Holtz, Legendary Football Coach, Author

The 2019 CIRT National Design & Construction Competition invites ACE Mentor Affiliate teams (student and mentors) from across the country to design solutions for one of three challenges: a playground or playscape, alleviate urban transportation congestion, and a community health clinic.

The competition is maintained, coordinated and juried by the Construction Industry Round Table (CIRT), in coordination with ACE Mentor National and the Chicago Architecture Center. The 2019 theme celebrates the innovations and contributions the design and construction community make to the quality of American life, while understanding the issues and challenges the industry faces to deliver on this legacy.


Playground or Playscape

This challenge seeks to find exciting proposals to transform neglected parts of urban areas/cities into interactive landscapes, encouraging public engagement, community involvement, and sustainable adaptive reuse. It asks teams to provide a design/construction solution, which advocates creativity and promotes outside activity, increasing socialization, and interaction. Teams should site their proposals in an abandoned or forgotten urban site, and develop a new era playground or playscape that creates opportunity for interaction and play for citizens of all ages.

Alleviate Urban Transportation Congestion

This option asks teams to tackle the task of alleviating transportation congestion in urban settings. Moving large numbers of people in relatively small or restricted urban areas is an all too commonplace problem in modern societies. The challenge involves identifying the various assets or means of transportation, their relative importance, limitations, and potential to alleviate the congestion. Once identified, Teams propose a single element to be addressed with a cohesive design and CONSTRUCTION solution that has the greatest potential to alleviate the problems. The team must prioritize or select what aspect or asset among the many transportation elements to either enhance, change, replace, or augment, as well as how it will be integrated to impact other elements. For example, replace a bridge or put a new one in to vastly improve flow of vehicle traffic; propose high-occupancy toll lanes; enhance or install a mass transit system; improve intermodal points to improve flow; or any other number of possibilities.

Community Health Clinic

Create a meeting point for individuals, families, and visitors, in need of medical treatment, checkups, and therapy that will present a whole-life feeling and reduce or eliminate the fear, anxiety, and boredom often associated with visiting medical clinics. The construction features of this facility must be the key to create a place where openness and diversity prevail -- where children, young people, and adults all feel at ease, whether they are the patient or just accompanying such a person. This challenge envisions an integrated clinic serving a local community, therefore should reflect “the style” of the area it will serve. Vital to this option is site selection and use or reuse of the available assets in the community (vs. new construction). Central to any solution should be the incorporation of elements that help facilitate the medical interaction (enhance flow, comfort, and recovery), as well as address the needs of accompanying individuals regarding waiting times, diversions, and entertainment. The underlying goal of the design/construction proposal: find innovative ways to make something that is in general done with “dread” into something that has some enhancing aspects.

Download the full competition packet with additional information. Entries must meet all requirements listed in the full descriptions.

Download PDF



To be eligible to compete, applicant must:

  • Be a participating ACE Mentor Program student
  • Enter with a team of three or more students and ACE Affiliate(s)

Competition Timeline

September 11
Competition announced
January 1
Submission platform open
March 14
Final submissions due at midnight (11:59:59pm)
March 29
Finalists notified/Preliminary results announced
April 30
Finalist presentations in Washington, D.C.

Winners & Prizes

A professional jury will review eligible entries in the preliminary round. Then top finalists will compete for first, second or third place in the Final Round in Washington, D.C. Winning teams, on behalf of their Affiliates, will receive a monetary award that can be used use for any purpose to support the operations, programs, grants, and/or needs of the Affiliate.

First place team
Second place team
Third place team
Top three finalist
Stipend for travel expenses
Runner-up teams
Additional prizes


Teams are welcome to use the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s online learning platform,, to collaborate. Students can upload their work, give feedback to each other and share photos, links and other resources as they work through the design process.

Learn more


Submissions are now open. Deadline for entries is midnight (11:59.59pm) on March 14, 2019.