The Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize was established in 2015 with a generous gift from long-term friends, business partners, and GSD advocates Samuel Plimpton (MBA ’77, MArch ’80) and William J. Poorvu (MBA ’58). Sam and Bill have each focused their professional lives, through investment and teaching, on real estate and the design of the built environment.

The Plimpton-Poorvu Design Prize encourages collaborative and cross-disciplinary work. The prize is awarded to an individual or team whose project, completed as part of their GSD curriculum, best demonstrates feasibility in design and construction and fulfills market and user needs.

Specifically, the jury looks for development proposals that use innovative design strategies to solve a problem, address a need, or serve a demand in ways that demonstrate a plausible path to implementation. Demonstration of feasibility may include a market analysis, business plan, and project pro forma.

Teams must have at least one GSD student and may include students from across Harvard and other universities. First, second, and sometimes honorable mention prizes are awarded to projects in amounts up to $20K.

Course work completed during the Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 semesters is eligible for the 2024 review cycle. A committee comprised of faculty members from each department will select a shortlist of candidates who will participate in a review and then be asked to submit a revised application, incorporating feedback from the conversation, in March 2024. The faculty committee, department chairs, and dean will review the revised submissions and select the prize recipients in May 2024. Submissions are due by 12:00 pm EST on Friday, January 12, 2024.

The 2023–24 competition committee is composed of faculty from all departments, including Mohsen Mostafavi (committee chair), Jungyoon Kim, George Legendre, David Fixler, Anne-Marie Lubenau, and Rick Peiser and Frank Apeseche (special advisors).

Students who are interested in learning more about the prize are also welcome to attend an informational session this fall.

Fall 2023 Information Session Dates

  • Tuesday, October 17, 12:00–1:00 pm EDT (zoom/virtual)
  • Wednesday, November 15, 12:00–1:00 pm EST (in-person/Gund 124)

Questions may be submitted to Amanda McMahan, Director of Administration, Office of the Dean.

Application Instructions

For deadline and submission information, please visit GSD Now.

2023 Recipients

First Prize
Xinxin Cheryl Lin (MArch II ’24), Vivian Cheng (MAUD ’23), and Pinyang Paul Chen (MRE ’24, MLAUD ’23). The Gansevoort: Design for Longevity is a mixed-use residential complex in Manhattan that investigates the impact of extended lifespans on design and environmental factors, with an emphasis on holistic well-being. This pioneering development fosters healthy urban planning and enhances the longevity of its residents, neighborhood, and environment. Its economic strategy focuses on sustainable, cost-effective modular building methods, and reimagines the block’s layout to create intimate, human-scaled spaces, improving daily activities and pedestrian access.

Second Prize
Maddie Farrer (MArch I ’25), Madeleine Levin (MUP ’23), and Arielle Rawlings (MUP ’23). Boyd Street Gateway is a proposal to develop new affordable housing, social services, and community space in Portland, Maine, aiming to restitch neighborhood connections through a respectful design that enhances housing stability while rooting the currently disparate community core of the East Bayside neighborhood.

Honorable Mention
Heejin Park (MAUD), Terry Kim (MUP), Aelin Shaoyu Li (MDes ’24), Claire Tham (MUP), and Li Zhou (MDes ’23). Truly, Oregon! Empower Lloyd Center, Portland, OR. This project proposes the development of the Lloyd Center, located in the Lloyd District, Portland, Oregon. The Project will encompass “Sportainment” as the core concept of the family amusement park, where visitors can use all the indoor attraction points for a flat-fee ticket. The surrounding retail space will accommodate local chains, boutique restaurants, and cafes.  The Project aims to shape a community of memory, care, and a sense of belonging based on a deep understanding of local culture and market demand.

Past Recipients


First Prize
Hana Cohn (MLA I ’24), Youngju Kim (MAUD ’23), Arami Matevosyan (MDes REBE ’22), and Naksha Satish (MAUD ’22). Their project, Bracing Peter Bracy: Reclaiming Power & Retaining Roots (BPB) in New Rochelle, NY, is sited in the historic Black neighborhood of Pugsley Hollow, founded in the 1800s by descendants of the earliest freed slaves on record. The development is guided by the idea that housing is more than a physical structure or financial asset—it’s a powerful economic engine for local communities. With that as a principle, BPB puts forward a non-privatized vision to redevelop the only remaining traditional public housing project in New Rochelle. The proposal challenges the cascade of displacement and gentrification by deploying “strategic bracing” measures developed through conversations with local residents, the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority, and other affordable housing experts. Strategies include the establishment of a community housing trust and the integration of a spectrum of affordable housing typologies. Integrated by a community corridor of amenities, the plan offers opportunities for greater economic freedom, empowerment, and strong roots for the long-time residents of Peter Bracey to continue their life there and to leverage the potential of transit-oriented development in downtown New Rochelle.

Second Prize
Nicolas Carmona (MArch II ’22), George Guida (MArch II ’22), and Manu Moritz (MDes REBE ’22). Their proposal, Miami Gateway: Affordable Housing for Resilient Communities, proposes an interdisciplinary and intergovernmental plan in pursuit of housing security and climate resilience. Located in Miami, Florida, the project leverages publicly-owned vacant land to erect prefabricated cross-laminated timber dwelling units for residents living below the local area median income. Organized around key investments outlined by the Miami Affordable Housing Framework, the project develops community-oriented programs, leverages housing innovation funds, and supports new businesses while helping to fill the current deficit of 121,820 affordable units. The project is an exploration of the current American affordable housing landscape, which has tempered its civic ambitions through deference to “the market.” Can we develop inclusive, quality, affordable, and climate-sensitive housing as a public investment in our common future?

Third Prize
Vicky Chen (MAUD & MDes REBE ’22) and Xudong Zhu (MAUD ’22). Their project, Urban Health Catalyst: An Innovative Health Themed Development Model in Miami Health District, provides an accessible living environment for healthcare employees by introducing mixed-income housing and health-themed programming to the institutional Health District, a developing neighborhood in Miami that is home to the second-largest concentration of medical and scientific facilities in the United States. The proposal utilizes the existing healthcare resources to stimulate the surrounding distressed neighborhoods. By bringing 448 units of mixed-income housing and medical community-oriented programs to the current single-use district, Urban Health Catalyst is meeting market needs to provide a quality, healthy environment for locals and future tenants.


First Prize
Sarah Fayad (MLAUD ’20), Ian Grohsgal (MArch I ’21), and Dixi Wu (MDes & MArch I ’22). Their project, Building a Scalable Business in Data Centers, sets up a testing ground for a new scalable paradigm with a more human-centered approach and prepares for the 5G-driven future while addressing the current growing demand in urban areas. Located along the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Québec to take advantage of the booming tech presence in Canada East, the data center sits at the nexus of benefiting three groups: the tenant, the community, and the investor.

Second Prize
Daniel Garcia (March II ’20), Kyle Ryan (MDes ‘21), and Peeraya Suphasidh (MArch II ’20). Their submission, The Block, is a mixed-use, transit-oriented development proposal of a 10-acre shopping center in Allston, MA. Located at the new Boston Landing MBTA rail stop, this project envisions diverse spaces for living, working, and retail in the form of a new elevated urban square, forming the foundation for a 15-min city.

Honorable Mention
Andriani Wira Atmadja (MUP ’21) and Nadège Giraudet (MArch I ’21). Their project, The Dolvi Township Project in Raigad, India, aims to develop a sustainable residential prototype on a steep terrain next to the JSW Steel Plant in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region of India.


First Prize
MacKenzie Wasson (MArch I ’20). His project, Building Biras: A Hurricane Adapted Caribbean Resort, pairs a disruptive business model with unconventional architecture yielding new realms of opportunity for locals, investors, and resort guests in the British Virgin Islands.

Second Prize

Tessa Crespo (MDes Risk & Resilience ’20) and Stefan Bird (MIT MSRED ’20). Their project, El Mercado Modelo de Miami, embraces the rich Dominican Republic culture of eating and artisanship in public spaces to envision how a nonprofit multi-stakeholder cooperative can be an incubator and community asset for social and economic mobility in the Allapattah neighborhood of Miami.

Honorable Mention
Zehui Gong (MAUD ’20), Jing Hai (MAUD ’20), Daisha Martin (MUP ’20), and Sidharth Somana (MDes REBE ’21). Their project, Oasi Plaza, proposes a mixed-use development with new transport modalities that symbiotically merges high-density urban living with a bio-diverse marshland in Medford, Massachusetts.


First Prize
Sam Adkisson (MAUD ’19) and Hiroki Kawashima (MAUD ’19). Their project, Metro Strand: Renewed Vitality for Overtown in an Urbanizing Miami, proposes a smarter way for Miami’s continued urbanization, with the added complexity of climate change, to establish a better method for future inner-city growth for the impoverished community of Overtown.

Second Prize
Augustinas Indrasius (MDes ’19), Peteris Lazovskis (MArch ’20), and Thomas Schaperkotter (March ’20). Their proposal, Carbon Park, LA, reimagines how real estate investment may fuel social benefit and ecological sustainability by connecting private investment with public space to seek balance for investors, the downtown Los Angeles community, and California’s growing carbon economy.


First Prize
Georgios Avramides (MDes ’18), Duly Lee (MDes ’18), John Lee (MDes ’18), Emily Marsh (MUP ’18), and Alex Rawding (MUP ’18). Their master plan proposal, Port District Interbay: Seattle, aims to address Seattle’s social challenges through improved transportation systems and is designed to be an economic hub that links residential, office, retail, hotel, public space and trails, and connections to the surrounding community.

Second Prize
Dalia Alderzi (MDes ’19), Alaa Raafat (MDes ’18), and Carlotta Weller (MDes ’19). Their proposal, Glories Olivetti | Barcelona, Spain, revives the legacy of Olivetti, integrates with the existing 22@ innovation district, and becomes the gateway for two communities: El Clot and 22@ innovation district in Barcelona, Spain.


First Prize
Patricia Alvarez (MDes ’18), Lisa Hollywood (MAUD ’17), Chris Merritt (MLA II ‘ 17), and Lindsay Woodson (MDes & MUP ’17). Their submission, NoBe Nexo, re-envisions an 18-acre site in North Beach, Miami Beach as a mixed-use development that addresses sea-level rise, storm surge, and food insecurity issues.

Second Prize
Maxime Faure (MAUD ’18), Van-Tuong Nguyen (MDes ’18), and Carla Wijaya (MAUD ’18). Their proposal, The W, is for a mixed-use housing development on Boston’s North End waterfront that includes housing for students, young professionals, and single householders, and provides a publicly accessible landscape connection along the waterfront.


Anna Hermann (MArch ’17) and Felipe Oropeza, Jr. (MArch ’17). Their submission, Hotel Alexandra: Conservation and Redevelopment project, completed for the class “Fieldwork in Conservation Design” demonstrates a successful integration of design, feasibility, and implementation strategy.