Add-on: A two-phase competition for a freestanding, affordable, accesory dwelling unit on Cape Cod, 2013
This two-phase competition seeks design proposals for a freestanding, affordable, accessory dwelling unit on outer Cape Cod. We hope to bring together local experts and the broader design community in order to develop fresh thinking about housing, resource conservation, and the relationship between the natural and built environment. Add-on is a way to consider the role of affordable housing in a context outside the city and re-envision the relationship between architecture, infrastructure, resources and land.
Cape Cod is an environmentally fragile piece of land projecting out into the Atlantic Ocean from New England’s coast. The landscape and vegetation have changed along with settlement patterns. Currently, the scarcity and high cost of undeveloped land along with the area’s changing demographics have caused a lack of affordable housing which threatens the region’s diversity and economic health. At the same time the Cape’s delicate freshwater aquifer is threatened by overuse and contamination.
While, in general, development has followed traditional rural/suburban patterns of a one family house per building lot, it’s clear that there is a need to begin exploring new paradigms in the coming decades. The outer Cape has a rich history of architectural innovators such as Marcel Breuer and Serge Chermayeff who both spent much of their careers thinking about community and low cost housing. The works of these and other architects provide a rich heritage of building experimentation.
The town of Wellfleet has sought to encourage an incremental increase in affordable rental housing through an Accessory Dwelling bylaw which allows a second living unit to be built on the lot of an existing home, provided it has the septic capacity. Participating property owners in Wellfleet commit to renting these units at an affordable rate. There is financial support through tax relief and grants for homeowners who participate. Wellfleet, today, has 11 accessory dwellings.
A Two Phase Competition
In Phase One, participants are invited to submit innovative designs for a freestanding, 800-sf one-bedroom unit. The proposal should include strategies for limiting the use of local resources and energy. Submissions will be accepted via email.
In Phase Two, finalists will develop their designs and propose construction strategies that are suitable for local needs and a modest budget. The proposals will include a conceptual idea for cluster housing.
Finalists chosen by the jury will be hosted for a week-long residency in either the Kugel/Gips House or the Hatch Cottage, two significant modern houses restored by the Cape Cod Modern House Trust (CCMHT). Following site visits and a tour of local, modern houses, a public forum will provide a platform where designers, local officials and potential clients, such as interested property owners and renters, will share information and concerns.
The final jury will meet August 13th to choose a first-place winner, who will receive a cash prize. There will also be two honorable methentions. The public will have the opportunity to cast ballots and the jury will consider the vote. The finalists’ projects will be displayed at the Wellfleet Library, Boston Society of Architects (BSA) gallery in Boston. The exhibit may also travel to other locations on the Cape and Islands.
Why Add-on 13?
Affordable housing is worthy of good design. With Add-on ’13, we invite designers to address the pressing issue of rural affordable housing in inventive ways. We hope to encourage home-owners to consider building units on their land. We also hope to interest other towns on the Cape to pass bylaws which can allow for accessory dwellings that provide a way to increase rental units in an incremental and diffuse way.
The competition is open to designers, architects, builders and students, who live in the United States. Participants can work individually or in teams.
Registration Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2013.
Submission Deadline: Friday, March 15, 2013.
Competition website: Visit website