Back to the site

1st place
Deold andersen architecture

Geoff DeOld & Emily Andersen - HomeWork

Entrepreneurialism often exists in low-income immigrant communities in the form of small businesses serving the immediate neighborhood. “Homework” is designed to support these communities. The “Homework” affordable housing model is targeted toward neighborhoods with a large concentration of entrepreneurially-minded residents who own small businesses that can provide the services and amenities needed in lower income neighborhoods such as fresh food markets, day cares, and after school programs. This proposal aims to find opportunities to provide needed affordable housing paired with space on site for entrepreneurs to house new businesses.

Read more

“Homework” is organized similar to the traditional Main Street live-work commercial building where the ground level is dedicated for commercial uses and the owners of the business would occupy an apartment on the upper floors. In this proposal, a solid base containing commercial uses becomes the foundation for a number of freestanding residential units of varied sizes. The workspaces allow for a number of the residents to rent space for their small businesses without the lengthy commutes. By allowing residents to “work from home” the need for second vehicles becomes unnecessary, as does the need for day care and other extra expenditures that can put a strain on the budgets of low to moderate income families. A handful of market rate commercial bays are available to help subsidize the overhead costs of the development.

The composition of the residential units allows for a number of different living scenarios, but a driving factor in its design is housing families. A handful of units are paired with an accessory living unit that can be occupied for an extended family member, while other units can easily be combined as families grow in-place. The roofs of the units on the 2nd and 3rd levels are vegetated, intending to mitigate heat island effect and slow the release of storm water into local storm water or sewer infrastructure.

The organization of the project and its units is meant to consider public and private outdoor spaces as an amenity that allow for chance encounters and community building with other residents. Units are configured to maximize a shared linear space on the third level to create a sort of elevated “street”. The configuration enforces the street’s activation by the residents use, creating an “eyes on the street” effect, promoting safety in this community.

Integral to the public space concept are two programmatic bands running perpendicular to the elevated street for residents use: a community gathering band and a playground.
The community gathering band is paired with the street level entrance to the residential units and organizes a series of shared open spaces, including street-level sidewalk bleachers that offer a resting place for pedestrians, an outdoor gathering area for residents on the second level, the vertical circulation towers, and a Free Little Library on the third level. The playground band hosts an open green space and park for the children who live at the residence, that transitions from the 2nd to 3rd level on a wave of turf and is host to various play amenities such as a slide, sandbox, and mini pool.

For more information
on the winning designs, contact Helen Malani at

Emily Andersen

Emily Andersen

Emily Andersen, RA is a founding partner of DeOld Andersen Architecture and an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture. Prior to DAA, Emily was an Associate at Slade Architecture in New York City, where she contributed extensively to several award winning projects. She received her BSAS and Masters of Architecture from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and was a 2015 Fellow of the New Leaders Council. She is NCARB certified and is licensed to practice in the State of Nebraska.

Geoff DeOld

Geoff DeOld

Geoff DeOld, AIA is a founding partner of DeOld Andersen Architecture. He received his BSAS and Masters of Architecture from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Prior to forming DAA he was an Associate Principal at STUDIOS architecture in New York City. Geoff is NCARB certified, is licensed to practice in the states of Nebraska and New York, and is also a LEED Accredited Professional. In addition to his work at DAA, Geoff has been an Adjunct Instructor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Architecture, and currently sits on the board of directors for Mode Shift Omaha, a transportation option advocacy group in Omaha.


1717 Vinton Street
Omaha, NE 68108