Next Home:2021 Design Competition Winners Announced!


In a crowded field of 32 outstanding proposals, the FELIX proposal by Tim Lai ArchitecT emerged as the winner in the inaugural NextHome: 2021 Design Competition. Jurors agreed that FELIX offers an affordable, adaptable, forward thinking, and environmentally-conscious pattern for living—all aspects that the competition sought to cultivate in a winning design. Launched in April, the NextHome:2021 Design Competition was created to identify low-cost housing solutions for legacy neighborhoods in Central Ohio. A jury of nine competition stakeholders, design professionals and community partners evaluated dozens of entries, all of which must have been buildable for $170,000 or less.


FELIX, the winning design, provides affordable construction and a flexible floorplan, allowing the homeowner to adapt and grow into the space through future phases of life while still fitting into existing neighborhood context.

There are two development sites for the homes, one in the Hilltop neighborhood and one in the City of Whitehall. The competition received support from both municipalities, as well as the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC) of Franklin County, AIA Columbus, and BIA of Central Ohio. "We’re committed to building these two homes," said Curtiss Williams, president and CEO of COCIC, during his interview with the Dispatch.


Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther believes that the competition “brought forth innovation and showed that we can create housing that is not only affordable, but also modern, adaptable, high-quality and sustainable.” Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce remarked that the competition is a great example of collaboration across sectors, as “our affordable housing shortage cannot be addressed by government alone.”


Jurors also awarded second ($3,000) and third place ($2,000) prizes, along with two honorable mentions. Tim Lai ArchitecT will receive $5,000 and a will negotiate a contract with the Central Ohio Community Land Trust to advance the design for construction.


Learn more from moderator Carlie Boos, executive director, Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio (AHACO), and panelists Andrew Dyer, Senior Policy Advisor for Columbus City Council; Isabela Gould, executive director of the Neighborhood Design Center; Tim Lai and Eliza Ho, principals, Tim Lai ArchitecT; and Curtiss Williams, president/CEO, COCIC, Franklin County Landbank, as they discuss insights into the current housing crisis.