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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Updated October 15, 2007.
Q. Is there a deadline for posting questions to this website?
A. Yes - we will not post any additional questions or answers related to the development program after October 15th.

GENERAL REGISTRATION ISSUES
Q. Is there a deadline for submitting questions.
A. No. Answers to questions will generally be updated weekly on the competition website.

Q. Is this competition open to groups?
A. Yes. It is open to anyone working individually or as a group.

Q. Are you accepting entries from outside the United States?
A. Yes.

Q. Is there a phone number you can give me so that we can register?
A. No. Please email any questions you have to info@courtyardhousing.org

Q. Can we review the full competition brief before we register?
A. No.

Q. Will a registration packet be mailed to the address of the registrant, or will it be available electronically?
A. It will be e-mailed to the registrant.

Q. Can we pay the registration fee using PayPal?
A. No. Please see the registration page for payment information.

Q. Is there a closing date for registration?
A. No. The only closing date is October 24 when submissions are due. However, it would be difficult to prepare an entry without referring to the full competition brief, which is only available after registration fees are paid.

Q. Can architecture students participate.
A. Yes. We welcome student participation.

Q. How do we register as a group?
A. One individual from the group registers and pays the fee. When the group fills out the submission form, which will be emailed after payment of registration fees, there is a place to list all group members.

Q. Can an entrant submit for both site options, or must we select
only one?
A. We require one entry fee per submission. Each pair of boards will have one registration number. You can register as many submissions as you want provided you pay the fee per submission. Without a valid registration number the boards will not be reviewed. If entrants desire to submit for both options, each would be submitted under a different registration and separate fee.

Q. The competition has 2 submission categories (i.e. "Sites"): "Inner Portland Infill Site" and "Eastern Portland Infill Site." Can we submit designs for both Sites under one Registration Number.
A. No. Entrants must obtain an additional Registration Number and pay the additional $45 fee for each submission.

Q. Can we submit multiple designs for each site under one registration number?
A. No. Entrants must obtain a Registration Number for each submitted design and pay the additional $45 fee for each submission. We would welcome within a single submission variations on the design that may take the form of illustrations or a discussion of adaptability to various site situations.

Q. Are cost estimates needed?
A. No.

Q. Are there any program requirements that can be released before registering (i.e. square foot requirements per unit, number of bedrooms/ unit, mixture of unit size requirement?)    
A. Detailed program requirements are in the brief.

Q. Is the competition brief available on the website?
A. No. It is emailed to the entrant after registration fees are paid.

Q. Regarding copyrights to the design, would it be possible to specify on the submission form copyrights for team members that collaborated in design and other team members on the graphics only.
A. Yes

Q. It appears on the website that a team’s choice of site must be finalized at the time of registration. However, site preference isn’t available per the registration form on the website and, furthermore, I’ve received a copy of a submission form (post registration) which directs me to annotate my site preference at the time of design submission.
A. You only need to pick a site when you send in the registration form - not when you pay to get the brief.

Q. Due to the wording of the competition description could you clarify whether by ‘anyone else interested in the topic’ this means architecture students/ those still in training are eligible to enter the competition?
A. Anyone, including students, can enter

Q. Will we be required to travel to Portland at any time if our design was chosen as a winning design?
A. No - but we encourage entrants to attend the events that will be posted on the website.

Q. My registration does not have 12 digits - is that OK?
A. Yes - registration numbers may have between 9 and 12 digits

SUBMITTAL REQUIREMENTS

Q. Are digital drawings available for use?
A. No. The full competition brief has a site diagram that entrants can use in creating their own digital drawings.

Q. What are the submittal guidelines?
A. They are detailed in the full competition brief.

Q. I have read the FAQ and see that we may not review the competition brief before registering. Many people's ability to participate has to do with the submission formats. Students especially do not have the funds to mail in physical boards for example. Please consider making at least the submission requirements (format) available.
A. Thank you for the question. Entrants are required to submit electronic files AND two 16.5 inch by 23 inch boards with drawings permanently mounted to the boards as described In the competition brief. No physical models will be accepted in this design competition. Perspective or sectional images of a model (physical or digital) may be incorporated into the presentation. Three-dimensional renderings or model photographs must show the design proposal in its context, preferably from a pedestrian viewpoint. Entrants may use any medium, or combination of media, that can be clearly understood and accommodated within the board format. Representations may include photographs of models, computer-generated images, hand drawings, paintings, or other forms of two-dimensional communication.

Q. Can perspective images extend beyond the boundaries given for the
perspectives section?

A. No.

Q. Would “section(s)” means “building or wall section(s)?
A. We would accept any type of section that the designers think best illustrates their design concepts.

Q. Regarding the board requirements specified in your brief, would it be acceptable to differ from them slightly, for example, orient the "text box" vertically so that it is 4" wide and 8" tall? In other words, can we differ slightly from the geometry of the board layout as long as the general guidelines are followed?
A. Please follow the stated requirements.

Q. Please confirm that submittals are due Wednesday October 24, 2007.
A. This is correct.

Q. Does the presentation board need to state what zone we are choosing to design for?
A. The specific zoning (R1 or R2) does not need to be indicated on the presentation boards. Submittals may include any number of units that fall within the density ranges stipulated in the competition brief.

Q. Our floor plans will not take up very much space on the presentation board. For the 100'X100' lot we will only have 2 floors. At 1/16" = 1'-0" we can fit both plans in one 10" X 16.5" area. This leaves an entire 10"X16.5" area blank. Can we put other drawings in this area, such as elevations or sections?
A. Yes

Q. Is the Submission Form required to be wet signed or can it be sent electronically and printed out?
A. Printed out is fine.

Q. Is it possible to present drawings in metric units?
A. For purposes of consistency in jury review, please convert to feet and inches.

Q. I'm doing the competition using Revit software. As opposed to AutoCAD, where individual drawings are named, Revit only "saves" the project as a whole. Thus, how can I comply with the specifics of the requirements about naming each drawing/diagram/text for your publication purposes?
A. They need to be saved as separate files per the competition brief. Perhaps you can export Revit to PDF, then open in Photoshop, crop as needed and save as separate files.

Q. Could you offer a definition or clarification the "Design Principles" in section "B". We are trying to determine what level of generality or specificity you are looking for in this space. Would you consider "Community"and "Health" to be examples of design principles? Would you consider "Shared Amenities" and "Well Defined Public and Private Spaces" to be example of design principles? Could you offer any other examples? Also, in terms of diagrams for section B, could you give any examples of what type of diagrams you mean. Would icons that are then used through out the rest of the board be appropriate? Or are you looking for more specific pictures illustrating a more specific point?
A. We are leaving this up to the entrants to determine the best way to describe and illustrate their principles.

GENERAL DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

Q. Will the housing be used for "affordable housing" or market rate?
A. This competition is for market rate housing that is affordable to families with children. This competition is not specific to subsidized affordable housing but we do welcome designs that would be affordable to families with children earning moderate to below moderate incomes.

Q. Does "market rate" housing include the opportunity for someone to purchase a house and rent the second floor, for example? Or does each housing unit need to be suitable for a single family only. Would there be an opportunity to design one structure with two addresses?
A. Yes, the competition allows submittals to include structures that are duplexes or consist of a primary ownership unit together with an accessory dwelling unit. Both these arrangements could involve use of the second unit as a rental. Note that each duplex unit would count toward the maximum density stated in the competition, while accessory dwelling units can exceed the density limits, provided they are smaller and clearly subsidiary to the primary units.

Q. If our submittal focused on senior courtyard housing and made allowances for visiting grandchildren in the form of interior and courtyard design, would we meet the intent of the contest. Alternatively, put another way, would our Senior Housing approach be a liability and demote our submittal in lieu of family projects with playgrounds?
A. Designs should offer attributes that make many of the homes attractive to families with children.

Q. Does "fee-simple" ownership refer to a single purchase price?
A. It means that the resident owns the property and the building on that property.

Q. In an earlier question it was asked if senior housing would be undesirable to the jury. The response seemed to encourage child friendly units. Provided most of the units are programmed as children possible, would other types of inhabitants (singles, seniors, etc.) be of interest?
A. Yes.

Q. As it's been mentioned in the competition program: R1 zone has a maximum density of 1 unit per 1000 sqf of site area. Does it mean if we have two stories house, we are not allowed to go less than 1000 sqf for the first floor? Or the total square footage can not be less than 1000 sq. ft?
A. The density equations, such as "1 unit per 1,000 square feet of site area," only relate to the number of units that may be built on a site and have no relation to the square footage of the units. It simply means that the 100x100 lot for example cannot exceed 10 units - there is no minimum.

SITE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

Q. Is off-street parking acceptable or is that addressed in the zoning code?
A. This is addressed in the competition brief.

Q:  Would an underground parking podium be allowed, on top of which would be the courtyard and housing? 
A:  An underground parking podium would be allowed and could exceed the stated lot coverage limits, but not as a fee-simple ownership arrangement with units on separate lots.  Note, however, that underground structured parking is expensive and would likely compromise the ability to respond to the competition's general affordability criterion (unless a proposal highlighted an unusually cost-efficient building technology). 

Q. Can the cars drive forward into their parking spaces / garages and then reverse to exit the property or must they have a turning area into which they can reverse and then drive forwards out of the site?
A. Vehicles should be able to leave the site and enter the public street in a forward motion.  An exception is that vehicles may back out into the street from the driveways of units that abut and are accessed from the public street

Q. Do you have specific sites chosen so that all entrants are dealing with same site?
A. We have deliberately left the competition sites unspecified but we do expect entrants to work within the framework of the guidelines set forth in the competition brief. Prototypical sites for the two submission categories have been dimensioned and images of typical contexts are on this website. Entrants are free to select an R1 or R2 zoning context for their site that they deem appropriate. The intent is to facilitate strategies for the development of courtyard housing that is not overly specific to a particular site.

Q. Could you provide the actual address of both infill sites?
A. No – see above.

Q. How is solid waste being collected at the site/curb?
A. For common greens and shared courts, garbage and recycling are typically picked up at the public street frontage.  We welcome creative ideas for how shared garbage and recycling areas (which Portland requires for larger projects) might be integrated into street frontage design.

Q. When dealing with the onsite parking/street situation, do we need to accommodate appropriate turnarounds or drive thrus on the site for garbage and/or fire vehicles? 
A. Turnarounds or access for emergency vehicles or garbage trucks do not have to be provided within the competition sites. 

Q: Why require an off-street parking space for each unit, given the costs, complexities, and impacts on site design this brings? Can we submit a design that includes no parking or includes less parking than specified?
A: Most Portland developers insist on providing off-street parking and surveys indicate that most families seeking homes in central Portland desire off-street parking, while the parking impacts of infill projects are a recurring concern of neighbors. The challenge of incorporating this parking is one of the greatest design challenges of medium-density infill development, particularly for projects affordable to moderate-income households, and is why the provision of parking is among the competition's parameters. Note, however, that competition participants may submit designs that depart from stated development standards, including the requirement for off-street parking, if they provide a rationale for why the departures help address the competition criteria.

Q. Are either sites zoned R1 or R2 and if so, which are they?
A. Yes - either site can zoned R1 or R2.

Q. Should 6' wide sidewalks and planting strips be calculated as a part of the 60% allowable building area or not?
A. No.

Q. Please define "right-of-way".
A. The width of the publicly-owned street and sidewalk - it includes the sidewalk, planting strip and street.

Q. What is a "shared court tract"?
A. A courtyard that accommodates automobiles, bikes, and pedestrians and that is owned in common by the residents.

Q. We are assuming that drainage swales and sidewalks will be placed within the right of way and not on the property. Is this correct?
A. Sidewalks and drainage swales for the streets would be in the right-of-way. Drainage swales for internal streets, if provided, would need to be on the private property.

Q. In regards to the site design, can we manipulate the topography of the
site to address drainage / parking issues?

A. Yes

Q. Is there any alley access to the sites rather than the main front street?
A. No

Q. Is there any document that talks about parking standards in the Portland area? We have explored many different parking options, and we are exploring the option of having parking spaces on the front of the property. Can the parking be in the front setback of the lot assuming that we would leave 20' from the property line.
A. While Portland does have regulations limiting the amount of property frontage that can be devoted to parking, these are not included among the development standards being used for the purposes of this design competition. Competition submittals may include parking in the front setback, although this arrangement may compromise the ability to meet the "Contextual Response" criterion, which states that "Designs should contribute to a pedestrian-friendly environment along the public street frontage.

Q. In R1 and R2 MF zone, along 100' of street frontage, what zoning guidelines exist for number of individual curb cuts for access to garage parking. Please also detail widths of actual drive and approach.
A. There are no standards for driveways and curbcuts for the purposes of this competition, for which submittals will primarily be judged according to the competition criteria outlined in the brief. If you are interested in voluntarily using Portland's driveways requirements as a paramater, Portland generally limits vehicle areas in multidwelling zones from occupying more than 50% of a property's street frontage; except that houses, attached houses, and duplexes are entitled to a 9'-wide driveway on each lot, even if this exceeds 50% of the frontage. Portland typically requires driveways shared by multidwelling units to be at least 10'-wide, although a 20' minimum is generally required for access to more than 10 parking spaces or when the driveway is located on a busy street (driveways are typically flanked by 3'-wide wings at the curb). Also, garage entrances must either be set back at least 18' from the front property line or be 5' or closer to the front property line. Again, note that none of these requirements apply for the purposes of this design competition.

Q. Does the presentation board need to state what zone we are choosing to design for?
A. No.

Q. Are either sites zoned R1 or R2 and if so, which are they?
A. Yes - either site can zoned R1 or R2.

Q. This question is about Eastern Portland Neighborhood: Since there doesn't seem to be a sidewalk, does that mean that a sidewalk is required as part of the 180 x 95 lot?
A. The site sketch on page 16 of the brief shows a 6' sidewalk outside the 180 x 95 foot site area.

Q. Can we use underground parking?
A. Yes - but keep in mind the expense of underground parking.

Q. The parameters indicate that the shared court ‘tracts’ must not extend more than 150’ from the front property line. Is some sort of interior driving/walking lane intended? Where does the 150’ requirement come from?
A. Shared courts are intended to accommodate both vehicles and pedestrians within the same circulation space, without separate sidewalks. Shared courts are also encouraged to be designed to serve as community space for residents and to include features such as special paving, trees, street furniture, landscaping and stormwater facilities. The shared court length limit of 150 feet is intended to limit the amount and speed of vehicles using the shared court and facilities development on constrained infill sites by allowing shared courts to be excepted from Portland's usual requirements for vehicle turn around areas, unobstructed roadway width and sidewalks.

BUILDING DESIGN ISSUES

Q. Are basements the norm for Portland?
A. In many older homes basements were the norm. Due to costs associated with basement construction today, basements are less common in newer homes.

Q. Could you please clarify the following: the height of the buildings is
45' from the exterior grade to "the average height of the highest pitched
roof".

A. The average height of a pitched roof is the midpoint between the ridge and the eave.

Q. Are minimum room sizes required?
A. No

Q. Can we have decks?
A. Yes

Q. How many floors can we design?
A. As many that you believe fit comfortably within the height limitation.

Q. Can roof eaves and window shading devices extend into the set back? If yes by how many feet? Can cantilevered balconies extend into the setback? If yes by how many feet?
A. For the purposes of this competition, there are no specific limits on extensions into building setbacks of minor features, such as roof eaves, fixed window shading devices, bay windows, or uncovered balconies; although Portland's regulations generally limit such extensions from extending into more than 20% of the depth of required setbacks. However, as Portland considers covered porches and covered balconies to be part of the general building mass, these should not extend into the building setbacks stipulated in the competition brief.

Q. What is the average size of one habitat unit?
A. There is no average size.

POST-COMPETITION ISSUES

Q. Are the winning designs going to be published in a catalogue?
A. Yes.

Q. We would like more information regarding the city's plans for using the winning designs.
A. Besides showcasing winning designs in a monograph that will be used to promote exemplary courtyard housing design, the winning designs will also be highlighted in a series of public exhibitions and presentations.  Also, the City of Portland intends to facilitate built projects based on the winning designs, potentially through means such as providing funding to aid in adapting designs to actual building sites and through encouraging developers to partner with winning designers in an anticipated design-build competition.  Competition entrants will retain all rights to their designs.

Q. Is the public going to provide a vote or only the jurors?
A. We intend to follow up the formal jury with a People’s Choice process where members of the public can vote on their favorite designs.