MONTPELIER — Net Zero Vermont, Inc., an independent nonprofit dedicated to fostering a sustainable future, is launching a nationwide architectural design competition to envision what a sustainable Montpelier might look like in 2030. Offering a $10,000 prize for the winning design submission, this project hopes to attract top talent to the challenge of creating a low-carbon, small-city future that becomes a model for the United States of America.
The goal is to create a 15-year plan that accelerates the development of a vibrant and inclusive downtown including mixed-use spaces, interconnected arteries, efficient buildings, an improved street system and green spaces, all accessible to young and old, working and retired people of varying abilities.
Montpelier declared it would become net zero in carbon emissions by 2030. The city has 60 percent of its downtown real estate devoted to off street parking lots with many buildings and infrastructure more than a century old. Through the design competition, citizens will be invited to shape that goal into a concrete vision.
Sponsors include Ben & Jerry’s, National Life Group, Vermont Creamery and All Earth Renewables. The contest is open to teams with multidisciplinary design expertise in sustainable urban systems, the built environment, landscape design, public spaces and the cultural and visual arts.
“We hope to create a vision of Montpelier that breaks from the status quo,” said Dan Jones, managing director of Net Zero Vermont. “The vision is one not designed around more asphalt-coated parking lots, but rather around a lovely city full of high density, affordable housing, recreation and commercial spaces. We look forward to presenting the designs to our neighbors as we set about the hard work of transforming Montpelier into a truly Net Zero city.”
Designs will be displayed to and voted on by the public. The design with the most community approval will win a $10,000 prize.
The competition calendar is as follows:
- July 12 – Registration opens. Request for design proposals from qualified design firms (in and outside of Vermont) to respond
- August 9 – Registration closes
- September 8 — Submission of phase 1 design boards
- September 11 — Public display and voting
- Each anonymous team presentation will provide two 24-inch by 24-inch boards and a project description. The public may view all of the submissions, vote for their top five selections and offer comments.
- September 15 — Design review panel
- September 19 — Finalists announced. Selected persons will be asked to expand concepts into a fully realized presentation.
- November 11 — Final submissions due
- November 17 and 19 — Finalist public presentations and voting
- November 21 — Winner announced
- 2017 — Implementation begins