Current Award


Introducing SOLVE the 2019 Sustainable Versatility Design Awards (No. 8) brought to you by NELMA.


At their heart, designers are problem solvers. For this year’s award, you are tasked with designing a wood-based structure that solves a social problem in your community. Homelessness, transportation gaps, community spaces, housing shortages, food access…it’s up to you. Look around your community for those in need. Think about partnering with a local non-profit to better serve them with your design. We will match the winning student’s $1,000 award as a gift to your local non-profit partner.SVDA1019poster

Design Prompts:

  • What local social problems can be mitigated or solved with smart architectural design?
  • What role does architecture play in social movements?
  • How do the natural biophilic properties of wood compliment the architecture?


  • First Prize: $1,000 and mention in trade industry press releases.  A matching $1,000 donation made to the winning student’s chosen non-profit associated with the submitted project.
  • Second Prize: $750 and mention in press release.

Submission Requirements:

  • Register for the competition at
  • Architectural renderings and images of your building (Concept art, floor plans, elevations, details, and sections as determined by the student).
  • Submissions shall consist of a (max) 3 digital files and one project narrative which comply with the following requirements:
    • Graphics may includes drawings,  renderings or video to be determined by the student.
    • File Format: A1 sized panel (84,1 cm x 59,4 cm), Landscape or Horizontal layout.  PDF with a maximum file size of 10 megabytes.  Links to videos should be included in the project narrative.
    • Student’s Last Name and File Number must be located in the upper right-hand corner of the submitted panels
    • A 750-word (max) project narrative that introduces the social problem and non-profit, demonstrates your knowledge of wood as a sustainable building product, and presenting your design decisions in light of working with wood as the primary structural and finish materials for the building.

Competition Timeline:

Registration Opens: March 1, 2019

Submissions Due: August 30, 2019

Award Notification: September 17, 2019

Judging Criteria:

10% – Sustainability features in addition to the use of wood

30% – Demonstrate a significant understanding of construction properties, finish applications and grades of both eastern white pine and spruce-pine-fir (SPF) species grouping

30%  – Maximal use of wood as the primary building material

30%  – Creativity in solving a social issue with smart architectural design

Questions?  Email