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The annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition showcases the talents of Chicago-area students who create projects that solve real-world problems. Please see the program updates document to learn how we are continuing the competition.

Named after late Illinois Senator Richard Newhouse, this competition gives students an opportunity to practice and refine design skills and create a project that could be part of their portfolio. It inspires teens to understand why design matters by researching, representing and redesigning the built environment to solve challenges that are personal and place-based.

2020 Newhouse

The 38th annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition theme is sustainable living solutions.

By 2050, the Chicago region is projected to grow to nearly 14.2 million people. With that number in mind, this year's competition asks students to imagine solutions to housing and sustainability challenges that urban areas will inevitably face in the future.

Each division considers an aspect of proposing a sustainable community—from the planning and layout of the community, to designing and engineering an individual unit, to visually communicating broader ideas and solutions.

View Manual  Program Updates  Student Worksheets

Questions? Want to learn more about how to get involved? Email


This year's theme and challenges were crafted with the help and support of a cross-disciplinary group of professional architects, designers and educators.

  • Clune Construction Company
  • Illinois Green Alliance
  • Johnson College Prep
  • Lake Forest Country Day School
  • Landon Bone Baker Architects


Architecture + Planning: Propose a Tiny Home Community

Architecture + Engineering: Sustainable Tiny Home

Architectural Physical Modeling: Sustainable Tiny Home

Open Design + Build: Sustainable Solutions

Fine Arts: House and Home

Graphic Design: Sustainable Community Infographic


Any Chicago-area high school student is allowed to participate in Newhouse. Students may participate through school or independently. The competition is free to enter. 

Important Dates

February 29 – Newhouse Workshop: Planning and Modeling

March 5 – Registration opens

March 7 – Newhouse Workshop: Open Design and Engineering

March 21 – Newhouse Workshop: Fine Arts and Graphic Design

April 16 – Registration deadline

May 1 – Online project submission deadline

May 9 – Awards ceremony and showcase

Competition Jury & Entry Evaluation

CAC will convene a robust network of more than 40 professional architects, designers and engineers to serve as jurors for Newhouse entries. Each division will be chaired by the division partners. Jurors will review and evaluate student work for evidence of the design process, critical thinking and professional presentation.