Senior Housing News (SHN) annual senior housing architecture and design competition gives owners, operators, developers, architects, and designers an opportunity to showcase their newly constructed and renovated communities to the SHN audience and the world. Each community that is entered is judged by a group of experienced senior living professionals including architects, designers, and more with a breadth of experience, expertise and knowledge of the industry.

The competition categories:


The 55+ category should include development projects for 55+ communities that are single-family dwelling, condominium, or townhome projects for purchase (non-rental).

Active Adult

The active adult category includes all rental senior housing or senior apartments that do not have a commercial kitchen component.

Affordable Housing

The affordable housing category should include entries that take into account local definitions of low-to-moderate income housing programs as well as projects that are specifically developed to lower the costs of construction and land acquisition to drive the monthly rental costs as low as possible.

Assisted Living

The assisted living category will consist of entries with as few as 12 beds and can be part of a larger community or campus. Entries that have a combination of assisted living and memory care in the same building should enter this category.

Behavioral Health

The behavioral health category includes all entries considered to be newly constructed, dedicated in-patient behavioral health buildings.


This category includes all newly constructed hospices.

Independent Living

The independent living category includes all rental senior housing or senior apartments. Entrants in this category must have a commercial kitchen component.


This category can include any project outside of the United States and in any particular sub-category for consideration.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) / Life Plan (LPC)

The CCRC / Life Plan community entries must include the full continuum of care with a skilled nursing component on-site.


The CCRC / LPC Lite category should include new developments of any combination of independent living, assisted living, and memory care but exclude any skilled nursing component.

Dining Renovation – New!

This is a new category for 2022 to highlight innovation in dining spaces in both new & renovated communities.

Renovation/Repositioning – Updated for 2022

The renovation/repositioning category should focus on one particular part of the continuum and include a variety of before and after pictures showing the transformation of the prior space into the new space. This category will be split between Building and Campus renovations/repositions.

Building: Only one building and its amenities have been renovated.

Campus: Two or more buildings and their amenities have been renovated.

Skilled Nursing / Post-Acute Care

The skilled nursing facility (SNF) / post-acute care category may include stand-alone projects as well as SNFs that may be part of a CCRC or other campus.

Small Footprint

This category should include any format that incorporates an independent living style single-unit dwelling, accessory dwelling unit or some other classification that represents a unique, innovative model to address an alternative view of traditionally defined senior living.

Stand Alone Memory Care

The stand-alone memory care category should be exclusively a memory care project and not include assisted living or any other part of the continuum. The stand-alone memory care may be part of campus but must be its own physical plant.

Wellness: Health & Fitness – New!

This category should include new or renovated wellness-related facilities, including but not limited to: aquatic centers, yoga, music or art studios, spas etc.

If you have questions about which category your project fits into, visit our FAQ Page or email us at [email protected].