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SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 15th, 2023

The goal of this competition is to create a functional space within a community for gathering, learning and safety. A multi-functional building that can be used in a variety of ways is the overall goal. The student should think about how communities, both youth and adults, will gather in the future and design a building to meet these needs. The student is free to choose material and the site within Detroit, MI, for the community center. This community center must be functional, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing.


Students are asked to design a state-of-the-art Community Center that will be used for education, recreation, networking events, and more.


Three projects will be chosen for recognition at the discretion of the jury. Jurors will select First, Second, and Third prize winners, in addition to a selected number of honorable mentions.


Winners will be notified of the competition results directly. Winning projects will be announced and displayed at the 2024 S.A.V.E Detroit Fundraiser event hosted on January 12th. The winning projects will also be promoted on S.A.V.E. Detroit social media platforms and website at


Substantial cash prizes will be distributed to the first, second and third prize students.


Submissions must clearly address the specific issues of the design challenge and must clearly demonstrate the design solution’s response to the following requirements:


  • A strong conceptual strategy translated into a coherent integrated design proposal

  • An articulate mastery of formal concepts and aesthetic values

  • A compelling response to the physical and cultural context of the scheme

  • A mature awareness of and an innovative approach to sustainability

  • A thorough appreciation of human needs and social responsibilities




The student competition is open to students and/or student teams from Michigan Accredited colleges only.



Students are required to enroll by completing an online registration form prior to submission by October 1, 2023.



Students are required to enroll online (available at by October 1, 2023. Registration can be done for each individual student or team of students participating. There is no entry or submission fee to participate in the competition. Each registered student will receive a confirmation email that will include information on how the student(s) will upload final submissions online. Please add the email address to your address book to ensure that you receive all emails regarding your submission.


  1. Student go to S.A.V.E. Detroit website (

  2. Click the “Competition” button,

  3. Click the “Register” button,

  4. Complete the registration form for either individual or teams

  5. For Team Registration you must enter their first and last names. Teams must be limited to a maximum of five students,

  6. Once the individual student or team is complete, Click “Submit”,

  7. Repeat steps 3 – 6 for each individual or team.




Digital Submission Format

Submissions must be presented on 20” x 30” digital boards, no more than 20MB each. All boards are required to be combined and emailed as JPEG files to The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty, must NOT appear on the boards, or in the project title or project title file name(s).

Design Essay or Abstract

A brief essay, 300 words maximum, is required as part of the submission describing the most important concepts of the design project. Keep in mind that the presentation should graphically convey the design solution and context, and not rely on the design essay to convey a basic understanding of the project. The names of student participants, their schools, or faculty, must NOT appear in the design essay.

Program Summary

A program summary, 150 words maximum, diagram/text of spaces and areas is required as part of the submission. All interior and exterior spaces are to be included; total net and gross areas are required.


Required Submission Documents

Submissions must include (but are not limited to) the following required drawings:

  • Site plan - showing proposal in its context of surrounding buildings and topography, together with details of access/circulation (with north arrow);

  • Floor plans, to show program elements, spatial adjacencies and navigation strategies;

  • Street elevations, building elevations, site sections, and building sections sufficient to show site context and major spatial and program elements;

  • Three-dimensional representations – in the form of axonometrics, perspectives showing the proposal in its context, montages and/or physical model photographs – to illustrate the character of the project;



Incomplete or undocumented entries will be disqualified. All drawings should be presented at a scale appropriate to the design solution and include a graphic scale.


After the student completes the online registration, each student will receive a confirmation email. The student is required to submit the final entries that must be emailed to S.A.V.E. Detroit at by 11:59 pm, Eastern Time, on December 15, 2023. If the submission is from a team of students, only one student should email the final submission. Once the final is submitted, no additional edits, uploads, or changes can be made.







The final submission upload must contain the following:


  • Completed online registration including all team members,

  • Each of the 20”x30” boards uploaded individually as high resolution JPEG files, no more than 20MB each,

  • A design essay or abstract (300 words maximum)

  • A program summary diagram/text of spaces and areas (150 words maximum).



The names of student participants, their schools and faculty must NOT appear on the boards, abstract, program summary, or in the file name.

Online Project Submission

Winning projects will be required to submit high-resolution original files/images for use in competition publications and exhibit materials. By uploading your files, you agree that the S.A.V.E. Detroit has the rights to use your winning submission, images and materials in a summary publication, online and in promotional and exhibition resources. S.A.V.E. Detroit will attribute authorship of the winning design to you, your team, faculty and affiliation. Additionally, you hereby warrant that the submission is original and that you are the author(s) of the submission.

Overall programming of this building is up to the student. It should include a variety of spaces for different types of community activities. Consider the life cycle of the building and the different types of individuals who would use the community center over time. Students should also consider sustainability and reducing environmental impacts in their design.


A key required component is consideration for safety and a way for the building to support community members. Again, it is up to the student to identify how the building will support the communities.


The following additional parameters are also included:

  • Overall interior and exterior square footage of 15,500 to 25,000 square feet.

  • Must contain at least one large interior space (approximately 5,000 square feet) and one large exterior space (approximately 5,000 square feet).

  • Contain a variety of meeting spaces and functional areas:

    • Multi-purpose rooms

    • Physical fitness spaces

    • Administrative offices

    • Common areas

    • Classrooms

    • Commercial kitchen

    • Restrooms / Changing Rooms

  • Buildings can be single or multi-story.

  • Must be ADA compliant.

  • The community center must also include outdoor spaces for gathering and activity.



The site for the competition is the choice of the student. However, the site should be located in Detroit, MI and must be accessible to a medium-to-large size community and provide access to multiple modes of transportation such as public transportation, biking, and/or walking. Submissions will be required to explain the site selection, strategy, and access graphically or otherwise.



The primary structural system is the choice of the student. Participants are encouraged to consider innovative ways to use various materials in the interior, exterior, and landscape applications.

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