Gallaudet University International Design Competition launched

Nick Myall
Wednesday 02 Sep 2015

A $60m public realm-focused project is expected to revitalize a historic campus in Washington, D.C. USA

Gallaudet University, in Washington, D.C., USA along with its development partner, The JBG Companies, and London-based competition organisers Malcolm Reading Consultants today launched the Gallaudet University International Design Competition.

The two-stage design competition seeks an outstanding multidisciplinary design team to create a new campus gateway and redefine the University’s urban edge as a vibrant, mixed-use, creative and cultural district. 

The $60M public realm-focused project is expected to be delivered in multiple phases. The project will position Gallaudet’s campus and its surrounding community as a focal point for the U.S. capital’s newly emerging creative economy. 

Gallaudet University is the only bilingual liberal arts university in the world where academic and research programs for deaf and hard of hearing students are conducted in both American Sign Language (ASL) and English.  

Fred Weiner, CEO of the Gallaudet University Foundation and Director of the 6th Street Development, said: “Gallaudet is a place like no other in the world.  We’re witnessing Washington, D.C.’s rapid metamorphosis into one of the most dynamic cities in North America.  But we’re also at the heart of the global deaf community, which is why we need an inspired team to create an environment that bridges the deaf and hearing worlds, celebrates human diversity, and has the potential to become a global model.”

Malcolm Reading, competition organizer and chairman of Malcolm Reading Consultants, said: “The competition has been eagerly anticipated with nearly 700 international architects signalling their interest following our pre-launch announcement in July.

“Expressing Gallaudet’s culture and heritage through design, and creating a memorable destination within one of the world’s great capital cities is a fascinating brief for architects and quite outside the normal run of projects.”

Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged, Gallaudet and the competition organizers hope to see these include architects, landscape architects and specialists in human behaviour, performing and fine arts, communication technology, wayfinding and engineering disciplines, among others.

No design is required at the first stage of the competition; competitors will be assessed on their understanding of the institution and project, team composition and past experience.

An honorarium of $50,000 U.S. dollars will be awarded to each of the shortlisted teams following selection of the winner.

Full details of the competition and how to enter a Request for Proposal (for design teams) or submit ideas and insights to the Shape Gallaudet initiative (community and supporters) are available on the dedicated website:


Both competitors and Shape Gallaudet contributors have until 12:00 EDT October 1, 2015 to enter stage one of the competition

The shortlisted teams, Shape Gallaudet contributors, jury and other specialists will take part in a colloquium, or discussion, and a live design critique during the fall.  The winning team is expected to be announced in February 2016. 

Both the ensuing project and the parent regeneration initiative will be run by Gallaudet University in partnership with JBG, who are experienced in collaborating with renowned global architects.

The competition is being organized by Malcolm Reading Consultants. Please follow the competition website for updates on the competition and further announcements.

Nick Myall

News Editor

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