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2023 An ADU for U Competition Final Results

In general, the jury appreciated the range of sizes and the inclusion of a two-bedroom unit, along with studio-type units, and one-bedroom units.

Development and Zoning

Competition Winner: VITA
submitted by Reservoir Studio Architecture, PLLC

VITA - ADU for U Submission 10-27-2023 - Nick Roberts_Page_1.jpg

VITA was the jury’s winning choice for the 2023 Raleigh ADU Competition.


The design was characterized as being thoughtful, well-proportioned, and livable. This entry took particular care to identify many of the age-friendly features in the home.


The dwelling integrated most age friendly features in a way that resulted in a package that could be easily customized later, but without the stigmatizing and stereotypical features that would be off-putting to a broad audience. The design revealed a well-articulated, integrated, covered step-free route into the house. The kitchen had a front control stove, moveable work/dining table, drawer base cabinets as well as pantry style-storage. The bathroom features a curbless shower with a hand-held shower and room for equipment or caregiver for assistance.


As with a few others, the designer took care to provide a way to consider the small dwelling in different contexts along with the opportunity to adapt the dwelling to particular surroundings.


The jury chose four finalists who collectively submitted six designs. All had elements of merit and the jury pointed out numerous features worthy of mention, including…

  • Creative small dwelling size

  • Covered entrances

  • Value engineering to create affordable outcomes

  • Ample outdoor living space

    • Screened porches

  • Use of pocket doors

  • Ample kitchen space

    • Lowered location of microwave 

  • Washer/dryer options

  • Slip resistant floor finishes

  • High performance energy features

  • Consideration for operational costs

  • Consideration for different lot types

  • Blocking for grab bars without showing grab bars themselves


The RL Mace Universal Design Institute is a non-profit organization based in North Carolina dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design. The Institute's work manifests the belief that all new environments and products, to the greatest extent possible, should and can be usable by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.

As the Institute's sister initiative, Better Living Design is changing the way homes and home products are designed, built, and remodeled to better meet the needs of everyone at every life stage. 


© 2023 RL Mace Universal Design Institute & Better Living Design. All rights reserved.

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