Think Tank 2019 - Exhibition

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DIRTT Environmental Solutions

325 North Wells Street


Chicago, IL 60654

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Want to explore the Megaregion? This is your chance.

About this Event

*This is not registration for attending the event; this page is ONLY for Exhibition registration. Event registration is located here.

We have broadly grouped the challenges facing Chicago into four categories:

  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Rivers and Watersheds
  • Green Spaces
  • Transportation and Mobility

As a designer, your task is to identify a specific issue within one of these four categories and propose an innovative solution for what the same condition might look like in the year 2050, if corrective measures are taken.

The exhibition will focus on these four themes as guiding topics for discussion within the context of the Think Tank. Each of the four themes touches on elements of architecture, urban planning, infrastructure, civic engagement, public and private land use, sustainability, ethical use, and disruptive technology.

It is the challenge of the designer to identify and isolate specific themes within their purview and propose a solution for that space, whether it is a single site, a neighborhood, a single building, or an entire transit line or body of water. The one requirement from a design standpoint is that every project must exhibit a net positive impact on the local asset, site, or community. This stipulation will provide us with a variety of projects and ideas for discussion at the Think Tank event on September 27th.


In terms of specific requirements for the exhibit, each design team or individual will create one (1) exhibition board (24” x 48”, oriented vertically, single-sided). The board should include one dominant image or impression (such as a rendering or montage) to convey the meaning and value of each intervention. Supporting diagrams, photographs, and other related graphics are encouraged for inclusion on the board, whether as a subset of the primary rendering or as a series of separate sub-images.

The designer or team should also include a narrative on the board no longer than 750 words, indicating the

  • Extent of the current problem or challenge as it exists today,
  • Description of the proposed solution depicted graphically on the board, and
  • The steps required to move from point A (today’s world) to point B (the solution proposed for 2050).

Additional supporting text on the board (such as labels and callouts) is allowed to expound on the themes conveyed in the narrative. Whatever illustrative technique is chosen, the primary consideration for the designer should be ease of understanding for a lay audience.


Each designer or team should consider the following:

  • Each project should be limited to a single location, based on a pre-existing physical asset or resource. Sites should be limited to one square mile unless a good argument can be made for why a specific project should be exempt.
  • Each project should, within the limits of reason, be capable of functioning as a prototypical solution in some way, shape, or form. We understand that not every solution is addressable to any site, but some consideration should be made to address universal issues.
  • Concepts should be impactful and theoretically actionable, and proposals should be easy to communicate to a broad public audience.
  • Each project should result in a proposed physical outcome or alteration in the built environment. New opportunities and/or amenities should be added, constructed, or adapted into the fabric of the city.


This exhibition is open to any member of the design community interested in architecture, urban design, and planning; or any person enrolled as a student in a related Bachelors’ or Masters’ program at an accredited university.

Entry Fee: $50 (Professional) / $25 (Student)

Registration Opens: July 8, 2019

Registration will open on the Think Tank website on July 8, 2019.

Registration Deadline: August 30, 2019

All teams and individuals must be registered and paid by noon CST.

Digital Submission Deadline: September 6, 2019

Projects emailed to by noon CST

Physical Submission Deadline: September 11, 2019

All physical boards (mounted and ready for display) must be delivered to Legat Architects’ Chicago office by end of business.

Prizes Announced: September 27, 2019

Eight awards will be given presented at the Think Tank on September 27, 2019.

Prizes Awarded:

Eight awards will be selected by a jury of speakers at the Think Tank event. While distinctly not a competition, the purpose of these awards is to recognize outstanding effort and merit, and to award those entries which rise above and beyond their peers. These prizes will celebrate projects that best emphasize the following characteristics:

  • Visualization (Best Graphics)
  • Innovation (Most Innovative)
  • Pragmatism (Most Realistic)
  • Sustainability (Greenest Proposal)
  • Resiliency (Most Regenerative Proposal)
  • Health and Wellness (Best for Occupants)
  • Educational (Easiest to Understand)
  • Student (Best Student Work)


Upon registration, each entrant will receive a 5-digit PIN which will be used for identification. Each entry should submit one (1) physical 24” x 48” board (mounted to foamcore or a similar rigid surface) as well as a digital package containing a PDF version of the physical board and a narrative (no longer than 750 words) contained in a Word document.

Please note that names and other identifying information should not appear anywhere in the submission. Instead, each team’s entry should be identified by the PIN number, which should appear on the bottom-right corner of the submission board and in the header of the team narrative Word document.

Each entry should indicate at the top of the narrative, and on the board in the indicated location, which of the four problem areas it is attempting to offer a correction toward.


Email questions and comments to Justin at

Date and Time


DIRTT Environmental Solutions

325 North Wells Street


Chicago, IL 60654

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