A jury selects winning entries in the first international C2C Home Competition.



by Anita Baltimore

When William McDonough, co-author of the seminal book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, offered the design challenge to the first C2C Home Competition entrants by describing their goal as "a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean water, air, soil and power—economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed," the response was nothing less than amazing. Architects, students and university teams enthusiastically accepted the invitation to design the most innovative and affordable housing solutions possible. The C2C Home Competition received more than 625 design submissions by thousands of participants representing 41 countries worldwide.
Winners in the professional and student categories will receive awards of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000. Competition organizers will work with the selected designers to have their designs developed and then constructed in Roanoke, VA, during the summer of 2005. Selected students will also receive internships to work on the construction of the C2C Homes.


1st place: Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum, Mithun—
Seattle, WA. Team members: Ron Van der Veen, Kristine Kenney, Richard Franko, Brendan Connolly, Julie Peterson.

2nd place: Patrick Freet—Minneapolis, MN.
3rd place: Russell Ashdown—Leicester, United Kingdom
4th place: Douglas Oliver and Vincent Snyder—Houston, TX.


1st place: Sean Wheeler and Jason Zawitkowski—Powhatan, VA.
2nd place: Damien Urain Linnen—Clemson, SC.
3rd place: Jinyong Yum—Vancouver, BC, Canada
4th place: Robert Gay—Austin, TX.

The two-part competition allowed students and professionals to compete with peers and offer solutions to the problem of designing buildable and sustainable housing, as well as "the opportunity to strive together to achieve excellence in building the highest-quality affordable and market-rate housing designs for a local community," according
to competition planners.

Held in Roanoke, VA, as the first in a series of similar events, the competition's selected designs were expected to provide solutions to the issues of context, particularly as they related to existing historic homes and neighborhoods. Based on the model of the traditional American Barn Raising, the construction of the winning entries will include local builders, neighborhood groups, volunteers and students, and is expected
to bring a transformation to the urban landscape and hosing stock within the city of Roanoke.

The winning designs were all the kinds of homes the jurists would enjoy living in. The highly regarded jury (see sidebar) pointed out that the winning entries were not extravagant or impractical, but could be built easily, using standard dimensions, and could be simply assembled and disassembled.

Juror Alexander Garvin was impressed at the level of skill from both students and
professionals, and amazed at the quality of student work. He also said that the public
conversation in the 20th century was about sprawl, but that's no longer the problem—this
competition addressed the question of how to move people back into cities elegantly, not just superficially. "This competition is far more innovative and important than anyone realized when we started," he said. Juror Randall Stout, FAIA, said he was encouraged that there's a new generation of designers who are passionate and willing to take up this challenge. Juror Sarah Susanka noted the diversity of styles among the winning entries, but that they all presented elegant implementations of C2C principles.

Some of the world's leaders in design, housing and sustainable development made up the jury for the first international C2C Home Competition. The highly regarded jury included:

  • WILLIAM MCDONOUGH, co-author of the groundbreaking book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things and 1999 Time magazine's "Hero for the Planet."
  • SARAH SUSANKA, author of the Not So Big House book series.
  • ALEXANDER GARVIN, planning director for NYC2012, Yale University professor and author of The New American City: What Works, What Doesn't.
  • RANDALL STOUT, Los Angeles-based architect, designer of the new Art Museum of Western Virginia facility and former associate with Frank O. Gehry and partners.
  • DANIEL LIBESKIND, and his associate YAMA KARIM designers for the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero.

The first-place winning home in the professional category, designed by a seven-member team of Mithun architects and planners, reinterprets the age-old concept of the hearth. Their hearth, a tapered, two-story, chimney-like core, includes mechanisms for rainwater
collection, black and gray water treatment, a heat sink, a ventilation stack, a skylight and structural support for solar-energy collection materials. The core consolidates these
systems that leverage the sun, wind and water.

The one-storied, L-shaped home doesn't just eliminate waste in its operation; it creates energy to share with its neighbors and its community at large. "Energy is neither
created nor destroyed. It is collected and returned," explained Mithun team member Brendan Connolly, emphasizing the importance of balance between the natural and the man-made. Based on emerging technology and scientific research, cells of spinach protein, sandwiched between glass, generate a substantial amount of the home's energy needs, and any additional energy may be fed to neighbors' homes, street lighting or si back to the power grid.

"The energy of a plant's chlorophyll gives back to our energy cycle, supporting our health and our ability to propagate," said Mithun project team co-leader Matthew
Coates. "This interdependency is the crux of cradle-to-cradle, thinking beyond our own life-time and lifecycle."

Construction of the winning designs is expected to begin in the summer of 2005, and work that begins in Roanoke will be refined and adapted for implementation for other markets in an effort to address issues considered to be specific to future project

    A number of professional organizations provided their support of the C2C Home Competition:
    American Institute of

    AIA Blue Ridge

    American Society of Interior Designers

    Art Museum of Western Virginia


    Blue Ridge Housing Development Corp.


    Cabell Brand Center

    City of Roanoke, Virginia

    Community Housing Partners

    Environmental Building News

    Environmental Design + Construction



    GreenBlue Institute

    Habitat for Humanity—Roanoke

    Home Depot Foundation, The

    Interior Design Educators Council

    Interiors & Sources

    James Hardie


    National Association of Home Builders

    Northwest Neighborhood Environmental Organization

    Old Southwest Inc.

    Roanoke Redevelopment

    Roanoke Regional Home Builders

    Society for Building Science Educators

    Southface Energy Institute

    Southwest Virginia Chapter, U.S. Green Building Council

    TBI Family Services

    Total Action Against Poverty

    Virginia Community Development Corp.

    Virginia Housing and the Environment Network

    Virginia Housing Development Authority

    Virginia Sustainable Building Network