UMD Team Makes “Final Four” in HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Competition

By Maggie Haslam / Feb 17, 2023

Team looks to bring dynamic affordable housing to underdeveloped block in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood

Lincoln Park, Chicago

An interdisciplinary team of graduate students from UMD’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation has landed one of four finalist slots in the 2023 HUD Innovation in Affordable Housing Student Design and Planning (IAH) Competition, beating out interdisciplinary teams from some of the most formidable graduate-level programs in the United States. UMD will go head-to-head with the University of Illinois Chicago, Harvard Graduate School of Design and University of Texas at Austin on April 12, 2023, at HUD’s Washington, D.C., office to vie for the winning title.

“We are thrilled to see Maryland once again advance in this prestigious competition,” said Dawn Jourdan, Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. “The skill and thoughtfulness our students bring to this competition time and again is truly outstanding.”

This is the sixth time that Maryland has made the final four in the competition’s 10-year history, selected by a panel of industry experts in a blind review; Maryland took first place in 2018, 2019 and 2022, placing second in 2016 and 2020. Team Maryland is: Maya Mule (M.ARCH), Samantha Habib (M.ARCH), Chris Tenneson (MRED), Abigail Bullock (M.ARCH) and Salma Haoudi (M.C.P.). Assistant Professor Georgeanne Matthews and ZDS Managing Director Rob McClennan, AIA, are the team’s advisors.

The IAH competition is designed to build a future of practitioners eager to fulfill the need for affordable, sustainable housing. It 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 transform an underdeveloped block in Chicago’s bucolic Lincoln Park neighborhood into a sustainable and vibrant, affordable family housing development for the Chicago Housing Authority. The team is up against one of the smallest sites in the competition’s history and the challenge to conceive a dense development that marries with the surrounding historic architecture.

“Maximizing every square foot of this influential and interesting site has been a unique challenge,” said architecture graduate student Abigail Bullock. “I am lucky to be part of a team of really smart and skilled people and I’m learning so much; that’s probably the best part of the competition.”

Matthews assumed the faculty advisor role this year from Maria Day-Marshall, director of the Real Estate Development Program. A committed mentor and advisor, Marshall has helped shepherd teams of students to victory since 2018.

“She has a commitment to students and to attainable, affordable housing that is beyond compare,” said Matthews.

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. While UMD’s design is under wraps until the final competition, the team hopes that their proposal catches the eye of jury members and the $20,000 first-place prize.

“This is an intense, three-week charette and these students have been working around the clock,” said Matthews. “They are really committed and supportive of each other and it’s been wonderful to see how their individual skills have really shined through.”

Learn more about HUD’s IAH competition.