Monday, September 22, 2014

LID Design Competition Sparks Development Changes in Memphis, Shelby County

Update: Water Environment Federation Stormwater Report highlights LID Design Competition, see link below.

In early March 2014, the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability put out a call for developers interested in participating in their Low Impact Development (LID) Design Competition. Phase 2 of United Housing’s Wolf River Bluffs Development was chosen as the competition site because of the organization’s interest in eco-friendly design. Once the competition was complete, United Housing would have the opportunity to look over all entered submissions and privately contract with whichever firm or team they chose to implement the development, which would feature 40 senior living townhomes.

LID is characterized by methods to treat stormwater runoff in a way that mimics the natural hydrology of the site, through natural infiltration instead of the traditional method of piping the water directly off the site. Because United Housing and the Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability share a similar vision of implementing energy efficient technologies to sustain affordable green communities, United Housing gladly accepted this opportunity for Phase 2 of its development.

The competition design site was located on 12.5 acres of United Housing’s Wolf River Bluffs Development near the intersection of McLean Boulevard and James Road in Frayser. Teams were responsible for developing a plan for a gated senior living community that featured 40 townhomes, interspersed parking, an amenity center for seniors to gather and a cluster design intended to preserve as much vegetation as possible.

A total of 28 architecture, engineering and landscape architect firms represented the 11 teams registered for the competition. Participating teams included:
  • A2H, Inc. / Precision Forestry
  • Allen & Hoshall, Inc. / Site Solutions, Inc.
  • Blair Parker Design / Civil Engineering Solutions, LLC
  • Dalhoff Thomas design | studio / The Corradino Group
  • Fisher & Arnold, Inc.
  • Gresham Smith and Partners / Black & Veatch / Allworld Project Management, LLC / Richie Smith Associates /     University of Memphis students
  • Barbara Keathley Associates, Inc. / Roger Dale Skaggs, ASLA / Pickering Firm, Inc. / archimania
  • Looney Ricks Kiss / ARUP
  • Malasri-Gallo-Lawrence (JT Malasri / Corey Gallo, ASLA / Thomas B. Lawrence, PE)
  • Schnadelbach and Associates / The Ibert Group, Limited
  • SSR Inc. / Self+Tucker Architects / JPA, Inc.
Round one of judging took place in Houston, Texas, where the first LID competition was launched in 2010. Teams received 80% of their score from LID experts during this round, and the top three teams advanced to the final round in Memphis. The top three teams included Dalhoff Thomas design | studio and The Corradino Group, Blair Parker Design and Civil Engineering Solutions, LLC and Malasri-Gallo-Lawrence. 

The final round was judged by a local jury of 17 civic leaders, design professionals, developers and other decision makers, including United Housing Executive Director Tim Bolding and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. After the three teams presented their projects to the jury and audience, it was announced that Dalhoff Thomas design | studio and The Corradino Group was the $15,000 winner. United Housing has the option to pursue future contract negotiations with one or more of the participating firms in order to create a compelling design and attract funding for Phase 2 of Wolf River Bluffs Development. The teams’ design boards will travel the state to be displayed at various conferences in Chattanooga, Henry Horton State Park in Chapel Hill and Murfreesboro over the next few weeks.

Anna Gattuso, Amy Schaftlein and Tim Bolding from United Housing with Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell

United Housing with members from the winning team, Dalhoff Thomas design | studio and The Corradino Group
LID Design Competition Coverage:
The Stormwater Report, a Water Environment Federation news service dedicated exclusively to stormwater news, from green infrastructure to wet weather issues:

Memphis Business Journal:

WKNO's The Family Plot:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

United Housing Partners with University of Memphis to Develop Demonstration Garden

Nonprofit utilizes a Capacity Building Grant from the Strengthening Communities Initiative

United Housing, Inc. is excited to share that it is partnering with the University of Memphis Architecture Department to create a NeighborScape Demonstration Garden! The garden was made possible by an $18,000 Capacity Building Grant from the University of Memphis Strengthening Communities Initiative. United Housing received $11,750 and the Architecture and Interior Design Studio, part of the University’s Architecture Department, received $6,250.

“We are excited to partner with the University of Memphis to develop our demonstration garden,” said Tim Bolding, Executive Director at United Housing. “This project has been in the works for some time, and we cannot wait to see it come to fruition in the spring.”

United Housing’s money will be used for social marketing and outreach, curriculum materials, site surveying and a Landscape Consultant. The University’s Architecture and Interior Design Studio, taught by Assistant Professor Jennifer Thompson, will use the money for a Graduate Assistant stipend, research, supplies and a design competition award.

United Housing will design the garden, which will be on its property, in partnership with University of Memphis Architecture Assistant Professor Jennifer Thompson and nine of her students. Additionally, a Garden Advisory Committee, comprised of United Housing’s Homebuyer Education clients, staff and board members, will provide opinions and ideas on the design of the garden.

The design phase officially began on September 18, 2014, and the building phase will take place during the 2015 summer gardening season. Once completed, the garden will provide United Housing Homebuyer Education clients the opportunity to gain advice on plant and vegetable gardening and lawn maintenance.

Each year, Capacity Building Grants are awarded to teams consisting of a nonprofit community organization and University of Memphis faculty and students, who collaboratively implement innovative neighborhood-based projects that address either economic development, education, health, housing, transportation or safety issues.

About Strengthening Communities Initiative
The Strengthening Communities Initiative is part of the University of Memphis’ School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy and the Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership. Furthermore, this initiative is supported by the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, United Way of the Mid-South and the Learning by Giving Foundation.