Montpelier 21st Century Design Contest

Public Meetings
City residents and interested members of the design community are encouraged to attend the following meetings:

Infill Housing / Commercial

  • Wednesday
  • May 16th
  • 7 p.m.
  • City Hall
Joslyn Farm
  • Tuesday
  • June 5th
  • 7 p.m.
  • Montpelier High School Cafeteria
Sabin's Pasture
  • Thursday
  • June 7th
  • 7 p.m.
  • Vermont College of Fine Arts
  • Noble Lounge
Goals of the Competition
The City of Montpelier has set ambitious goals of encouraging housing development over the next several years - the Master Plan adopted in 2010 set a target of 50 units per year. The Master Plan also called for more affordable housing, housing that is safe, resource efficient, and accessible. The city has also received growth center designation from the State of Vermont to enable housing development following smart growth principles such as compact development close to infrastructure, walkable neighborhoods, preservation of critical resources and wildlife habitats, providing a variety of transportation choices, mixed use neighborhoods, and participatory planning.

To meet these important goals, we are initiating this design competition as we continue the process of revising our zoning regulations to come into compliance with the Master Plan. With the competition, we are hoping to achieve these goals:

  • To identify regulatory hurdles to housing and commercial development in the city
  • To shape several proposals that meet the city’s goals for new development
  • To demonstrate development practices that are consistent with the Master Plan
  • To develop new zoning tools to facilitate quality projects
Competition Guidelines
We are inviting designers, students, architects, and interested citizens to participate in the competition. The neighborhoods where the larger development designs will be focused will be engaged at the beginning to develop neighborhood specific award criteria, in addition to the general criteria listed on page 9. It is not a requirement that contestants participate in the meetings, but it would increase their understanding of the issues which need to be addressed by the design. Notes from the meetings will be posted to the city’s contest website.

We hope that the competition will inspire new housing development, and will give us invaluable feedback about current regulatory hurdles to new housing in Montpelier. This in turn will help us revise the zoning so that the types of development which represent thoughtful and sustainable design will be encouraged.

We have received several comments from designers preparing plans for the Sabin's Pasture part of the contest that the competition format does not allow for enough detail. If you are preparing a larger plan for Sabin's Pasture, it is acceptable to include a detail of the plan, and details of the narrative, on the official contest entry and to submit additional plans and narrative as supplemental information.

Who Is Eligible to Submit Designs?
There will be several categories of awards, and each category will have its own eligibility requirements. They are as follows:

Architects, design firms, engineers, and interdisciplinary professional teams are eligible for making submission to the Professional level of competition. To qualify in this category, you must earn your living as a professional architect, engineer, or designer, and have completed successful projects in your field.

Graduate and undergraduate college students and their professors are eligible to apply as teams to the Student level of competition. To qualify in this category, you must be currently enrolled in an accredited program of full-time or part-time study.

People who are interested in architecture and who design homes and developments for fun or their own use are eligible to apply individually or as teams to the Citizen level of competition. To qualify in this category, you or at least one of your team must be a current resident of Montpelier, Vermont.

Young people who are residents of Montpelier, Vermont can apply individually or as teams to the Youth level of competition. There will be several levels considered separately:
  • Ages 6 - 10
  • Ages 11 - 15
  • Ages 16 - 20
If a team has more than 1 age level, they will be considered in the level of the oldest person on the team.

Competition Categories
There are 4 Competition Categories that contestants can choose for their designs:
  1. Infill Housing: Lots are being volunteered by property owners throughout the city for infill housing designs. These designs should offer innovative approaches to smaller houses that can fit in between homes on the larger lots in the community.
  2. Infill Commercial: Lots volunteered by property owners in the city’s historic downtown are the focus of the infill commercial category of the competition.
  3. Sabin’s Pasture: The owner of a large lot called Sabin’s Pasture has offered the property for the competition. Designs for this property will need to comply with the existing Act 250 Master Permit (PDF) that has been issued by the Environmental Commission. Please review the following Neighborhood Specific Standards (PDF), adopted June 7.
Submission Deadline
All design submissions must be received no later than 4:00 pm on August 24, 2012. This is not a postmark deadline, the presentation boards, CDs, and other materials must be date stamped in the Planning Department at City Hall in Montpelier. 

Additional Information
For more information, including detailed submission requirements, download and read the Design Contest Brochure (PDF), or contact Gwendolyn Hallsmith.