Design Challenge

You have the chance to design the future of the Gibbs House Education Space!


The Design Challenge is currently CLOSED for applications.  Thank you all for your interest and participation. Stay tuned for future developments. 


The Office for Sustainability is hosting a Living Building Challenge inspired design competition for an outdoor education space at WMU's Gibbs House. The Education Space Design Challenge focuses on the collaborative nature of design by inviting teams of students, community members and professionals across southwest Michigan to create an innovative and sustainable multi-purpose space that integrates a solar photovoltaic shading structure and educational sustainability displays.

The Education Space Design Challenge is for collaborative student and community teams that design a Living Building Challenge-inspired outdoor education space to complete the Gibbs House Permaculture Demonstration and Research Facility.

Successful submissions will satisfy the following four imperatives:

  1. Design a low-impact, cost-effective, multi-purpose presentation space that can be constructed from sustainable materials and allow for a variety of functions such as lectures, educational activities, community events, and entertainment.
  2. Seamlessly integrate a 6 kW, grid-interconnected photovoltaic array in a way that will enhance the structural design and aesthetics of the space and optimize annual energy production.
  3. Create an active learning environment through the use of a sustainability exhibit that will educate visitors about on-site renewable energy generation and the sustainable design features of the space.
  4. Design an innovative and beautiful space that cultivates learning, creativity, and sustainability while complementing the historic nature of the Gibbs House.

All designs should follow Design Challenge guidelines and will be judged according to the Design Challenge rubric. The winning design team will receive a substantial prize! Check back soon for more details. Winners will be announced at National Campus Sustainability Day in October 2014.

All inquiries can be directed via email to

Download the Design Challenge Guidelines

Download the Design Challenge Rubric