ANNOUNCEMENT - March 28, 2016:
Due to uncharacteristically low participation, there were not enough entries to move forward with the juried competition and the event has been cancelled. We greatly appreciate the effort and interest of those who participated, and entry refunds have been initiated.  Please stay tuned for other exciting programs and events forthcoming from The Center for Architecture!  The original competition brief follows:


CFA Design|Build Program
Portland Street Seats Competition 2016


The Center For Architecture (CFA) Design|Build Program focuses on creative placemaking. It explores semi-temporary urban installations that activate underutilized spaces throughout the city and improves Portland’s built environment by leveraging the creativity of the architecture and design community. This year the CFA is calling for designers to enter great design ideas that push the boundaries of the ongoing Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Street Seat program. With the theme of “Four Seasons,” designers shall program their installations to promote year-round use. A jury will select two winning proposals to be built and installed at locations to-be-determined for the launch of Design Week Portland and remain in place indefinitely.


The Project

Program //

The designs shall be for a 6 foot by 20 foot temporary and freestanding installation aimed at great place making. It will coincide with Design Week Portland, April 17-23, and will remain installed indefinitely. Following the design guidelines of The City of Portland’s Street Seats program (listed below,) the project will be a model for future street seat designs that create positive public space open to all. The design shall provide a public space for people to sit/gather/interact during all seasons and all weather.

Location //

Up to two winning submissions will be constructed at locations to be determined within the city of Portland.

Sponsors //

This competition is made possible through the generous support of our sponsors:

  • Hoffman Construction
  • The Center for Architecture
  • AIA Portland
  • City of Portland
  • Slattery, Inc.


The Schedule

February 9, 2016 // RFP announced
March 14, 2016 // Registration and Submissions due
March 21, 2016 // Winners announced
March 21 - April 18, 2016 // Design Development + Build
April 18, 2016 // Projects installed


The Budget

Each winning team will receive a $5,000 stipend for project costs including, but not limited to, materials, fabrication, transportation, and installation.  Project costs may exceed the stipend amount, but additional funding above and beyond the stipend is the sole responsibility of the entrant.  Entrants are encouraged to utilize private fundraising or donations to help fund their proposals beyond the stipend amount. If applicable, please include this information in your entry to illustrate the feasibility of your proposal.  The Jury will take under consideration the source and amount of any additional funding to ensure that the funding can be secured and installation can be completed.


Your Responsibilities

Each selected team will be awarded one location to install their street seat design.  If selected to build their project, it is the sole responsibility of the entrant to complete all off-site fabrication and project preparation in advance of the project installation day.  On the project installation day, it is the sole responsibility of the entrant to complete project installation prior to the end of the day (5:00pm).  Entrants will need to provide their own teams to assist with and complete installation on-site, if necessary.


The Guidelines

The following guidelines apply to the project, per the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation:

  1. The Street Seat platform will sit on top of the existing street surface.  The design should not include any bolts/anchors or other elements that require disturbing the street surface or sidewalk.  
  2. Facility may not extend beyond six (6) feet from the curb line.
  3. The maximum length of the platform must not be longer than twenty (20) feet.
  4. Platform must be designed to allow for curbline stormwater drainage.
  5. Platform should be as level as possible and flush with the sidewalk height. At least 12 feet of the platform must be flush with the sidewalk for wheelchair access.
  6. Platform design must include a physical barrier along the street while maintaining clear visual sight lines to the street. Vertical elements, such as planters and umbrellas, should be included so that the facility is visible to vehicles.
  7. The sidewalk‐facing side of the platform must be accessible for pedestrians.
  8. The platform shall not be permanent. It should be removable. 
  9. The use of durable materials capable of withstanding year‐round use is required.
  10. Branding of any kind is prohibited as part of the design.  Signage will be provided by the program.


Design Criteria

Successful projects must be:

  • Durable/able to withstand year-round weather and constant use
  • Physically able to be constructed
  • Able to be utilized in all seasons and in all weather
  • Within budget
  • Safe and accommodating to all
  • Beautiful


Submission Requirements


  1. Entrants must register and pay through Eventbrite at the following link:
  2. Only one entry is needed per submission. If working in a team, only one member of the team needs to register. 
  3. Entry Fees:
    • $25 USD for student/emerging professional (less than 10 years experience)/unemployed submissions
    • $50 USD for professional/firm submissions


All submissions will be completely digital and must follow the specific requirements outlined below.  Please submit your entry as a single .ZIP file emailed to this address:  Please ensure your .zip file is below 10mb. Registrations/submissions are due at 5:00pm PDT on March 14, 2016.

  1. Entrant information page (as a single Word document .doc, .docx)
    • 8 ½ x 11 page size (1 page limit)
    • Project title
    • Team Name(s)
    • Physical address
    • Email address
    • Phone number
  2. Project narrative (as a single Word document .doc, .docx)
    • 8 ½ x 11 page size (1 page limit)
    • 400 words maximum
    • Include project title and narrative only, no other identifying information
  3. One 30" x 42" board (as a single PDF)
    • Formatting and graphic layout is up to the team
    • 150 ppi resolution
    • This board should communicate the full project concept.  Plans, sections, elevations, and renders are encouraged.
    • It is encouraged to include assembly diagrams/details to illustrate feasibility of construction
    • Include project title only, no other identifying information
  4. Budget spreadsheet (as a single PDF)
    • Itemized material list with estimate of approximate total cost
    • Outline any additional funding, if applicable (where is it coming from and what will it cover?)
    • Include project title only, no other identifying information



Each team is responsible for supplying the labor needed to build their installations. We strongly encourage you engage a contractor early in the design process to ensure your concept is buildable on time and on budget. We will have some Fabricators volunteer time to help each team fabricated their designs. Rob Slattery has kindly offered each team a couple days in his workshop to complete and assemble the final installations.  Winners will be asked to submit a schedule for off-site construction/fabrication leading up to the April 22 install date.



  • Up to two winners will be selected by the jury and invited to build and display their project on one of the two designated sites.
  • The award stipend will be $5,000 per winning entry.
  • Submissions (winning or non-winning) may be displayed to the public in a gallery during Design Week Portland and on the Center for Architecture website.
  • Unbuilt Award(s) for creative design will be awarded at the discretion of the Jury. 





The Center for Architecture becomes the rights holder for all images and submissions for the competition. CFA, Design Week Portland and the City of Portland may use any images from the entries in promotional material for the festival as well as the Portland Street Seat Program. The Jury reserves the right to give any number of awards including none. 


The Jury

Jurors //

  • The jury will be announced soon.

Technical Advisors //

  • Hoffman Construction
  • Rob Slattery



Please email questions/comments to: