UPSTATE, an interdisciplinary center for design, research, and real estate founded by Syracuse University's School of Architecture, has launched From the Ground Up, a design competition that aims to create a new model for revitalizing blighted urban residential neighborhoods and to demonstrate the feasibility of providing high-quality design to underserved communities. UPSTATE has issued an open call for competition entries.

Focused on the declining Near Westside neighborhood of Syracuse, N.Y., the competition will task design teams with developing a low-cost, sustainable home plan that can be built for $150,000 or less. From the Ground Up is a two-stage competition, requiring interested design teams to first submit a portfolio of relevant past projects and qualifications for consideration and review. The jury will choose up to three teams to compete in the second stage with four pre-selected teams: Adjaye/Associates, Cook+Fox/Terrapin Bright Green, Della Valle Bernheimer/ARO, and Office dA/Architecture studio himma. Teams will then have eight weeks to develop their designs.

Competition sponsors Home HeadQuarters, Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, Syracuse University School of Architecture, the Central New York Community Foundation, and The Community Preservation Corp. intend to implement the winning plan and have it built by the summer or fall of 2009.

Entry booklets are due Sept. 15, 2008. Short-listed teams will be notified and sent the competition brief by Oct. 1, 2008. From the Ground Up's organizers will hold an informational session and site tour in Syracuse in October as well. For competition details, visit