• Shylo

Design Competition 2018: Simple ADU

Updated: Apr 8

Project brief:

This is my entry for a local design competition for accessory dwelling units within the existing urban fabric.

Project role:

Solo project

Software used:

Autodesk Revit



Hardware used:


Exemplified skills:

Design: Architectural/Environmental

Visualizations: Custom 3D models

Visualizations: Custom materials & textures

Visualizations: Photorealistic 3D views

Visualizations: Architectural Plans & Elevations

Graphics: Presentation layout for print

Copy: Entry Explanation


high (weeks-month)

complex, detailed, seen between 5' and 50'

projects with several processes that require longer work sessions

Project process

The following rules were given:

"DESIGN COMPETITION BACKGROUND Like many cities in the United States faced with suburban sprawl and accessibility issues, Lexington is considering amending its zoning to allow for accessory dwelling units, or ADUs. Commonly known as “granny flats,” ADUs offer improved accessibility for people with disabilities while adding vibrancy and diversity to the existing urban fabric. COMPETITION BRIEF For this competition, participants will design an ADU on a generic site in Lexington. The required program includes a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area, but other spaces, both indoor and outdoor, may also be included. The maximum floor area is 500 square feet, and the maximum height is 20 feet. Proposals must prioritize accessibility for people with disabilities. SCHEDULE Registration Deadline: November 2, 2018 at 11:59pm ET Submission Deadline: December 2, 2018 at 11:59pm ET Winners Announced: December 7, 2018 at 12:01pm ET SUBMISSION Each project will be digitally submitted on a single 36-inch by 36-inch board. To ensure anonymity among participants, do not include any personal information on the submission board. Requirements include a brief project description, site plan, building plan, building section, interior perspectives, and exterior perspectives. Additional representations are at the discretion of participants. For team projects, only one team member is required to submit. RULES Participants retain copyright of submitted work. Participants grant Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government usage rights with proper credit of all submitted work for publicity purposes and report illustrations."


I wanted to create something simple, accessible, and attractive. I focused on making the space user friendly, and easier to build. I added the slope in the yard to add interest and emphasize the flexibility of the post & beam design.


I researched existing ADU's, tiny homes, and efficient living spaces.

I sketched ideas on paper to get out quick thumbnails of plans and looked at approximate areas.

I settled on a general layout and began modeling.

I also looked at other competition entries to have references for layouts I liked, and elements I might want to emulate or be inspired by.

Iteration & Process:

Once in the model, I was able to see issues with some of my sketches and was able to adjust the plan in Revit to accommodate necessary changes.

I started with basic rendering settings, and adjusted for drama and color.

Additional adjustments to images were made in Photoshop, and I began the layout process, using my inspirations. I incorporated 2D elements to overlay on the "dollhouse" view from above, as well as a section/elevation for interest and information. I wrote a simple description of my project, which in hindsight might have been my weakest element, as I was told the space design was probably the most efficient and well planned, and yet other entries won out with exceptional explanations.

Project results:

See the images below for interior 3D views at full size.

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