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Architecture team finalist in HUD Affordable Housing Competition

Friday, March 06, 2015

LAWRENCE — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that a team of five University of Kansas Department of Architecture students is among four finalists in the 2015 HUD Innovation Affordable Housing Competition.

The competition challenges graduate-student teams to respond to a real-life, affordable housing design and planning project, and it requires that the teams include two members who are studying subjects other than architecture. HUD’s Office of Planning Development and Research is the contest’s sponsor.

Fifth-year architecture students on the team include Savannah Greenlee, Kansas City, Missouri; Kyle Killian, Lawrence; Tu Tran, Olathe, and Taylor Monsees, Overland Park, who is also a business student. Department of Urban Planning student Ashton Martin, Lawrence, is also a team member.

The students are enrolled in a Social Entrepreneurship Studio taught by Joe Colistra, associate professor of architecture. The HUD project is one of eight projects designed for intergenerational housing. But the students are trying to do more than just design buildings; the projects will also be graded on how well the structures improve the neighborhoods that surround them.

Kirk McClure, professor of urban planning and a nationally recognized public housing expert, has also been advising the students.     

The HUD competition finalists will submit a design and a business plan for an affordable housing complex to house 300 seniors on a site located in Houma, Louisiana. HUD will send two members of the team to visit the town in March. The full team will make final presentations in Washington, D.C., in April.

Winners receive $20,000 from HUD, and the runners-up earn $10,000. KU is competing against UCLA, New York University and the University of Minnesota.

Two of the students who have worked on the HUD project are also participating in the School of Business’s Kansas Impact Program (KIP) program. KIP pairs teams of first-year MBA students with organizations around the state in need of management consulting; however, this year the program was opened up to include three architecture students, among them Greenlee and Tran.