2020 HKS Design Fellowship Mid-Atlantic

2020 marks the 10th installation of the HKS Mid-Atlantic Design Fellowship (MADF). This annual event is one of three regional charrettes presented by HKS. Unique design fellowships will be hosted this year by HKS offices in Richmond (Mid-Atlantic DF), Miami (Southeast DF) and Los Angeles (Pacific DF).

The HKS Mid-Atlantic Design Fellowship is an intense, three-day charrette. The key drivers behind the MADF are DESIGN, SUSTAINABILITY, and COMMUNITY. Each year, an original design prompt challenges the Fellows to consider a complex issue affecting the urban metropolis.

The Goal 

  • Assemble and showcase emerging design talent (HKS professionals and undergraduate/graduate students).
  • Build and maintain relationships with regional universities.
  • Form and foster partnerships with community stakeholders.
  • Facilitate opportunities for teamwork, resiliency, and leadership.
  • Elevate design and energize HKS design culture by encouraging holistic thinking and unconventional approaches in regular practice.
  • Propose solutions that envision an emphasis on systemic well-being (people, business, and earth) and responsible design.
  • Introduce fresh perspectives on sensitive topics.
  • Learn from one another by sharing knowledge/skills and merging methodologies or technologies to enhance the design process and graphically communicate design intent.
  • Provoke discussions that address real-world scenarios within urban, communal, and individual scales so that we can turn talk into focused action.

Important Dates

  • December 20, 2019 – Call for Entries
  • January 24, 2020 – Application Deadline
  • February 4, 2020 – Fellows notified of acceptance
  • March 13 – 16 – MADF takes place

The Location 

MADF 2020 will be hosted by the HKS Richmond office at the following address:

2100 E Cary St,
Richmond, VA 23223

The Application

Any full-time undergraduate/graduate university student enrolled in an architecture, urban planning, interior design, landscape architecture, industrial design, or other design program is invited to apply for the design fellowship.

Any HKS professional from the New York, Richmond or Washington, D.C. office is eligible to apply.

Fellows are chosen by the design fellowship committee via a blind review of the submitted materials.

To apply, send an email to [email protected] with a single PDF attachment using the file naming convention MADF2020_student/professional_LastName-FirstName.pdf comprised of:

  • Completed application form(click the appropriate link below and download the PDF file to fill out the text fields and save as to submit, following the submission instructions on the form)
  • Student application form
  • HKS employee application form 
  • 11″x17″ Design Page
  • Statement on your design process and techniques/software used (incorporated into the design page)
  • Answer the question: “Why do you want to participate in MADF?”

Candidates will be notified of acceptance via email within one week following the deadline.

There is no application fee or cost to participate in the Design Fellowship. Meals throughout the charrette will be provided at no cost to participants. However, please note that Fellows are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and expenses.

The Fellows

Typically, six to eight students and three to four professionals are selected each year. The selected Fellows are then divided into three teams with two or three students and one or two professionals per team.

The Schedule 

Fellows arrive on Friday evening for an introductory presentation and preliminary research. Over the course of the weekend they participate in site visits, work sessions, and informal critiques. As teams respond to the prompt, they learn about the history and character of a place / site, investigate the underlying complex relationships causing the problem, develop imaginative solutions, and produce sketches, diagrams, models, drawings, and renderings. On Monday morning, the resulting proposals are shared in front of a diverse panel of critics to spark a dialogue about the agency of the design of the built environment.

The Archives (2011-2019)

To date, the Mid-Atlantic Design Fellowship has worked throughout the District of Columbia and has explored several issues facing our nation’s capital, including:

  • Historic preservation
  • Affordable housing
  • Social services and access to education
  • Transitional housing for homeless families
  • Economic development and sustainability
  • The influence of art & music on the city
  • Design for health and wellbeing

The Outcomes 

Since its inception, the design fellowship has produced novel and fascinating projects that push design forward. The collaboration that occurs over such a short period of time, across multiple offices in the firm and between various disciplines and backgrounds, has led to compelling and thoughtful work year after year. In some cases there was a direct influence, but in all cases there was an enlightening conversation and a renewed sense of possibility that design has the power to create spaces and shape experiences that can shift paradigms.

 We believe our design fellowship has provided tremendous value. We continue this tradition because it inspires us to constantly improve our practice to deliver services, environments and experiences that have the greatest meaningful impact.


Send Inquiries to: [email protected]

Thank you to everyone who has made MADF a success over the years. We’re excited about what’s in store for 2020!