UMD Team Makes “Final Four” in HUD National Competition


Team challenged to conceive affordable, community-driven housing in Santa Fe


An interdisciplinary team of graduate students from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation has landed one of four finalist slots in the seventh annual HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) Competition 2020, beating out over 32 teams from some of the finest and most prestigious graduate-level programs in the United States. UMD will go up against Yale University, University of Michigan and University of California-Berkeley on April 16, 2020, at HUD’s Washington, D.C., office to vie for the winning title. Team Maryland is: Maggie Curran (Team Leader, M.C.P.), Shayne Piltz (M.ARCH, M.C.P.), Tochi Chimaobi Ohakawa (M.ARCH, MRED), Sam Bohmfalk (M.H.P, MRED) and Andrew Walker (M.ARCH, MRED). Maria Day-Marshall, director of the Real Estate Development Program and Bonstra | Haresign’s Rob McClennan, AIA, are the team’s advisors.


“We are thrilled to see our students return to the finals at IAH,” said Dean Donald Linebaugh. “Their efforts are a testament to the hands-on, interdisciplinary collaboration we strive to offer our students throughout their Maryland experience.”


The IAH competition is built on the philosophy that ideas and innovations from the next generation of professionals are essential to fulfilling the need for affordable, sustainable housing. The IAH challenges interdisciplinary, graduate-level teams to address the social, economic and environmental issues that surround a real-world housing problem in the United States, by creating innovative and original solutions through development, design and finance. This year’s competition asks teams to design a LEED-rated, low-income housing complex in a fast-growing part of Santa Fe, New Mexico, that offers a high-density, vibrant, community-focused scheme in the spirit of Santa Fe’s Southwestern architectural heritage. The location offered a number of opportunities as well as immense challenges for the students, from an arid climate to a pattern of uncoordinated growth surrounding the site.


“It was a formidable task, but a great opportunity for us,” explains urban planning graduate student Maggie Curran. “It challenged us to respond more innovatively and more constructively. Our interdisciplinary team was a massive asset—it made our plans more robust and more grounded in the local context.”


The first round required schematics and a preliminary pro forma. While UMD’s design is under wraps until the final competition, the team hopes that their response to the site’s context results in a community-driven, sustainable and supportive housing proposal.


"The level of work and consideration the students have committed to over the last few months is outstanding,” said Day-Marshall. “The team’s interdisciplinary, collaborative nature has resulted in something really comprehensive and allowed each student’s expertise to shine through. We are very proud of their success!"


“Maryland has a long history of winning the IAH Competition,” said Curran. “We came to win and carry on that legacy. We’re excited to continue building out our plan for a connected, resilient community in Santa Fe.” 


The school has an enviable record in the IAH Competition. The University of Maryland teams were finalists in 2016, 2018 and 2019, placing second in 2016 and winning the competition in 2018 and 2019. 


The team will refine their project and produce more detail in the weeks leading up to the competition, including a site visit in early March. The winning team will be awarded $20,000. To learn more about HUD’s IAH competition, visit their website.


Posted on February 27, 2020 by Maggie Haslam