A $40,000 nationwide design competition could showcase next-generation urban housing in Australia.

Lake Macquarie City Council’s dWELL contest will challenge industry professionals and tertiary students to design a new style of home with wellness, innovation, affordability, and sustainability at its heart.

Director Organisational Services Laura Kendall UoN’s Chris Tucker and Mayor Kay Fraser at Dudley’s dWELL site .

Director Organisational Services Laura Kendall said the competition would bring together creative minds from the cream of Australia’s building industry and academia.

We want to work with the best and brightest innovators in property development, design, technology and other industry sectors,” Ms Kendall said.

This competition will demonstrate how homes for tomorrow can be built today, without a premium price tag.”

Manager Property and Business Development David Antcliff said that with projected demand for 13,500 new homes in Lake Mac in the next 16 years, and the recent launch of Council’s new Housing Strategy, the time was right to think outside the square to create better housing options.

All too often, a client’s brief is very specific about what they want to achieve, how a building will look or how it will perform, and this thinking generally comes from the past,” he said.

We want to give creative professionals and students some freedom to design homes of the future that are focused on making people’s lives better.”

The dWELL competition has two categories: one for professional architects and building designers, the other for teams comprising at least one university architecture student.

Entrants will first submit an expression of interest and description of their intended design, based on a vacant, Council-owned block on Ocean Street in Dudley.

Entries selected for Stage 1 will share in a $10,000 prize pool and be invited to create a more detailed submission.

Mr Antcliff said Council would consider building the winning design on the prime hilltop site in Dudley, which overlooks the coast to the north, to be managed as part of Council’s asset portfolio.

Winners and shortlisted Stage 2 entries will share in a $30,000 prize pool, but there is an incentive here far greater than the cash reward,” he said.

Winning entries will be showcased nationally as an example of what is possible, what is practical and what is affordable in providing next-generation housing for all Australians.”

They will also provide a benchmark for us here at Council as we continue to grow our City and make it a place where our built environment evolves with our lifestyle.”

The judging panel will comprise Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW CEO Steven Mann, Planning Institute of Australia NSW President Juliet Grant, University of Newcastle Head of Architecture Chris Tucker and locally based The Block 2014 contestants Maxine and Karstan Smith.

Mr Tucker said that in judging, he would look for designs that reflected an understanding of both where we live and how we live.

With both of these, it might look radically different to the houses we typically build at the moment,” he said.

An ideal home has a great sense of space, is well-crafted and vitally connected to the outside.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said the dWELL concept aligned with Council’s Housing Strategy, which aimed to “facilitate and guide housing design and innovation”.

As a City, we need to respond to, and advocate for, new and emerging housing types that meet changing household needs,” Cr Fraser said.

I’m excited about what we are going to see with entries, and where it will take us with housing in years to come.”

Go to www.lakemac.com.au/dwell for more information.