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Until further notice, all CAC walking tours are suspended and the Center at 111 E. Wacker Dr. is closed, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines from the State of Illinois.

The annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition showcases the talents of Chicago-area students who create projects that solve real-world problems.

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.

2021 Newhouse

The theme of the 39th annual Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition highlights the City of Chicago’s new INVEST South/West initiative, by concentrating students’ efforts on projects that improve the quality of life in neighborhoods on the South and West Sides.

In October 2019, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced INVEST South/Westa community revitalization initiative to support equitable development in 10 underinvested neighborhoods on Chicago’s South and West Sides. INVEST South/West seeks enhancements that are aligned with each neighborhoods’ priorities, as identified in their own Quality of Life and related plans.

This year’s Newhouse Architecture + Design Competition focuses on projects that improve the quality of life in the first three neighborhoods to be addressed by INVEST South/West: Auburn Gresham, Austin and Englewood.


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

November 10 – Divisions announced

December 1 – Registration opens

January 2021 – Student manual available

April 9, 2021 – Submission deadline

April 21-26 – Judging period for projects

TBD – Awards ceremony and showcase

Competition Jury & Entry Evaluation

CAC will convene a robust network of 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.

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