Helping Homeowners Become Home Creators

It’s no secret: the Monadnock Region has a housing shortage. Home prices and rents are going up. Vacancies and inventory are low. There is no one size fits all solution. We need a variety of approaches to address the issue. We need a full cast of community members to step up to the challenge.

Everyday homeowners have a role to play. On many residential sites, opportunity exists to develop an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), a home on the same property as a primary dwelling unit. An ADU can be physically attached to the primary dwelling or detached. They are gaining attention as a housing option that can fit within a wide variety of neighborhood contexts, whether urban or rural. ADUs can also address urgent housing needs, such as the prevailing desire among older adults to age in place.

The Monadnock Region ADU Design Challenge aims to connect interested homeowners with architects, students, and building professionals who can provide design services and help homeowners imagine how an ADU could take shape on their property. The homeowners benefit from free design services. The architects, students, and building professionals competing in the challenge benefit from the positive publicity and have a shot at winning a minimum cash prize of $5,000 (more details on that soon). The region as a whole benefits from a better understanding of how ADUs can fit within our local communities. A triple win.

This web page will evolve in the months to come. If you’re interested in receiving updates about the project, you can sign up for our Happenings, our email newsletter.

How it Works

The first phase of the competition entails recruiting Monadnock Region homeowners to participate. We’re looking for 3-6 homeowners who have an interest in exploring ADU development on their property. If you meet that description, please fill out the short interest form below by August 15, 2024. Once you complete the form, SWRPC staff will be in touch to gather additional information.

Homeowner profiles will be compiled into a catalog, which will serve as the basis of the competition design brief. In the second phase of the design challenge, architects, students, and building professionals will be invited to develop conceptual ADU designs in response to one or more of the homeowner profiles. Conceptual drawings and cost estimates will take into account homeowner goals, priorities, and site constraints. A detailed design brief and design challenge rules will be released in later summer or early fall.

Homeowner Interest Form

We invite you to complete the form below if you’re a homeowner interested in exploring ADU development on your property.

Select the town where your home is located. If you’re interested in building an ADU on a second or investment property, indicate the corresponding location.
In a few sentences or less, please describe your goals that you would hope to achieve by building an ADU. For example, house an aging parent, supplemental income, etc.

Designer Interest Form

If you’re an architect, student, or building professional interested in staying up to speed with the Monadnock Region ADU Design Challenge, provide your contact information here.


Design Challenge Timeline


Recruit advisory committee, which will guide development of competition process, design criteria, recruitment of homeowners as case study sites, solicitation of design submissions, identification of competition judges, and other project activities.


Develop process and promotional materials for recruiting case study households. Begin recruitment process, including organization of public engagement events. Develop design brief for competition entries. Draft project web page.


Confirm households participating as case study sites. Refine web page. Launch competition web page promoting the opportunity and announcing submission deadline. Open Q&A period for prospective entrants.


Continue competition promotion. Confirm competition judges. Close Q&A period. Work with advisory committee to draft response to submitted questions.


Meet with municipal officials and staff to market the competition and how submitted designs could potentially be considered for pre-approval and streamlined permitting in the future. Competition closes.


Select competition winners and post results on project web page. Organize and host awards ceremony. Issue press release.


Follow up with case study households to assess interest in pursuing ADU development. Promote awarded designs to towns in the region. Pursue funding for future work, e.g., creation of pre-approved, open-source building plans based on awarded designs.

For More Information

Contact Executive Director Todd Horner at (603) 357-0557 or [email protected].

Thanks to Our Sponsor

The Monadnock Region ADU Design Challenge is made possible through an AARP Community Challenge Grant.

Top Photo Credit: Backyard ADUs.