Ball State University’s R. Wayne Estopinal College of Architecture and Planning (ECAP) is once again gaining national attention for the student-designed Alley House—an energy-efficient, eco-friendly duplex on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis that will provide affordable housing for two families.

Alley House, located at 201 N. Temple Ave., has been selected to receive a SARA (Society of American Registered Architects) National Design Award, a prestigious recognition of talent, dedication, and innovation in the field of architecture. The official award announcement—including award levels and category winners—will be made at this year’s annual SARA National Design Awards Gala in Philadelphia on Oct. 28.

“We are so grateful for this recognition from SARA,” said Pamela Harwood, professor of Architecture and faculty co-lead of the Alley House project. “The Alley House project was a momentous achievement. We would like to recognize all 105 ECAP students who worked on this project and honor the Architecture Department team leads.”

Earlier this year, the Alley House team of students, faculty leads, design advisors, and interdisciplinary consultants earned top honors in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon® 2023 Build Challenge. ECAP was named the 2023 Build Challenge Overall Winner in this international competition.

“The Alley House is one of only 10 projects to win the Solar Decathlon Build Challenge since 2002,” said Dr. Tom Collins, associate professor of Architecture and faculty co-lead of the Alley House project.  “We are honored and humbled to be included in this list of prestigious institutions.”

Alley House team student leads were Emily Rheinheimer, ’23; Alejandra Lagunas, ’23; Matt Martella, ’23; Navy Lynch; Nik Seiber; and Spencer Whitmore.

“An organization of registered architects recognizing a student project is a huge honor,” said Mr. Seiber, a senior Architecture major. “This is meaningful because the project was intended to be a real-world, professionally connected, community-relevant experience for students who will someday be registered architects.”

The Alley House is one of Ball State’s many Immersive Learning projects—high-impact learning experiences that involve collaborative student-driven teams guided by faculty mentors. Students earn credit for working with community partners such as businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies to address community challenges through the creation of a product that has a lasting impact.

ECAP’s community partners on Alley House are Englewood Community Development Corporation, Gratus Development, and Cedar Street Builders. Alley House is part of the 40-unit Englewood Homes affordable infill housing development on Indianapolis’ Near Eastside—and will be the only net-positive energy duplex in this development.

Learn more about Alley House in this Ball State blog post. ECAP also maintains a Solar Decathlon site with additional information about Alley House, the students' journey through this project, and the impact on the Englewood neighborhood.