COURTESY OF RYAN SMITH
Students have the chance to find real solutions for housing and even win some cash at the first WSU Hack A House competition this weekend. The event focuses on affordable housing in the Pacific Northwest.
Ryan Smith, WSU School of Design and Construction director, said the Hack A House competition gives students 24 hours to come up with a prize-winning idea. The idea will be judged by professionals in the industry of design, construction and more.
“They can be a part of the solution, opposed to part of the problem,” Smith said.
The competition is open to all students of any major, even those at the University of Idaho, he said. People can sign up in groups or are assigned to groups on the day of.
A total of $5,000 in cash prizes is available for first, second and third places in the competition. Smith said the second and third place prizes include gift cards to the bookie. In addition, the first-place team will receive a trip to the Hive Conference, a national housing conference in Austin, Texas during December.
“The Hive Conference brings folks together in academics and the industry to try to find solutions about how to solve affordable housing,” he said.
Ideas can come from a standpoint of design, construction, finances, policy or any area that might be of interest, Smith said.
Students can come up with solutions that either reduce the cost of housing or increase the revenue stream so people can afford better housing through different mechanisms, he said.
The competition is free to register for. Those interested can sign up at ivory-innovations.org/hackahousewsu. Three meals will be provided: dinner, breakfast and lunch, Smith said.
Four professionals in the industry will also speak at the event, he said. Speakers include Kate Burke, Spokane City Council member, Robert Humble, co-founder of Hybrid Architecture, Matthew Collins, Uptic Studios principal architect and Jennifer Wallace, Palouse Habitat for Humanity director.
Smith said student ideas will be judged by six experts in the industry, including Robert Humble, Jennifer Wallace, Kate Burke, Randall Teal, University of Idaho architecture program head, Mohammadsoroush Tafazzoli, WSU School of Design and Construction assistant professor, and John Morefield, Jackson Main Architecture architect.
The competition first started at the University of Utah two years ago and Ivory Innovations sponsored the event. The company is an innovation center in connection to Ivory Homes that is committed to developing housing solutions, Smith said.
This year, WSU and the University of California, Berkeley will host Hack A House competitions, he said.
The competition is from 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Carpenter Hall on the WSU campus.
“We are hoping students can help find solutions not only when they are professionals but also when they are in school,” Smith said.