Urban Land Institute Gerald D. Hines Student Urban Design Competition


A gift from the Cogburn Foundation supports the program's annual participation in the Gerald D. Hines Urban Land Institute Student Urban Design Competition, a national competition in which our students have been among the four finalists seven times, including having twice placed first in 2019 and 2022. The competition focuses on redeveloping marginalized territories in different American cities each year and is an opportunity for students to work with colleagues in the McCombs School of Business and professional advisors from the design and development community.

Each year between five and ten teams of graduate students representing multiple disciplines, including urban design, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, and architecture, collaborate with business students on this national competition during two intense weeks at the beginning of the spring semester. Both the School of Architecture and the McCombs School of Business hold an internal competition with a jury of local professionals and academics to award student teams with prizes sponsored by the Cogburn Foundation. Student teams also submit their work as part of the national competition.


The Stack is designed to unlock the creative and transformational potential of downtown Oakland. Knowing that this site is integrated into a multicultural area of high social vulnerability, especially among the Black population, the proposal aims to maximize the uses dedicated to serving these communities and provide needed infrastructure for long-term growth and equity. To achieve these goals, The Stack’s design and program is grounded by three key pillars: Health, Culture, and Connection.

To promote health and social well-being, The Stack provides diverse and richly programmed spaces for outdoor gathering, recreation, and sports. The buildings are sited and implement various strategies to help mitigate highway air and noise pollution.

Supporting and expanding Oakland’s strong cultural and community assets is one of the main objectives of this project. The Stack offers a home for the city’s non-profit changemakers to thrive, as well as numerous platforms and opportunities to amplify Oakland’s artistic talent and entrepreneurial enterprise. Home to an established healthcare sector, skilled workforce, and proximity to international travel and shipping hubs, major employers will be drawn to The Stack’s Class-A offices.

Improving transit connections for all mobility modes is a driving force for the project. Stacking multi-modal transit below the highway, improving city-wide linkage with green street connections, and boldly bridging the highway with a park, The Stack stitches together the various neighborhoods, people, waterfronts and stadium within its reach.

This ambitious proposal transforms the area into a cultural and transit hub with a mission-driven, mixed-use program that drives positive social change for Oakland.