MGMWERX Design Challenge

MGMWERX Education Facility Redesign for Innovative Learning (Interior)



We are seeking to rapidly innovate the interior design of Air Force educational classrooms used for supporting Professional Military Education (PME) and student training. Specifically, this challenge addresses classrooms and associated offices, auditoriums, and circulation spaces on various Air Force bases and their PME schools.

If your submission is selected, your concept could be applied as a school design template for both the Enlisted and Officer training classrooms throughout the entire Air Force. As a point of reference, the following is provided as context to Challenge participants.

The Air Force’s Air University (AU), headquartered at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, provides the full spectrum of Air Force education, from pre-commissioning to the highest levels of PME, including degree-granting and professional continuing education for officers, enlisted members, and civilians throughout their careers[1]. Both Officer and Enlisted PME (OPME and EPME) delivers a continuum of learning necessary to inspire and develop leaders with the moral framework of integrity, service and excellence[2]. Both OPME and EPME have in-resident courses where students range from Air Force members to U.S. Government civilians, along with students from other branches of the U.S. Military, and Armed Forces members from foreign nations.

We need your innovative solutions!
AU is looking for innovative ideas and designs which enhance the involvement of both the PME instructor and learner; enriching student involvement and educational outcomes in a wide array of spaces.

We are looking for the different space designs to be fashioned to provide students the ability to easily shift between different modes of learning; your ideas should consider strategies for zoning and allocating space (The Architecture of Education, p. 5)3. The immediate objective is to create prototype designs which are instrumental in supporting the student’s effort in achieving key training and educational outcomes. The design should present a solution which results in educational gains and effective engagement.

Detailed graphic artistry is not required in Phase I, but if selected to move forward to Phase II, a design portfolio along with a more detailed graphic artistry will be required. The ultimate goal of this Design Challenge is to select proposals which could be duplicated throughout the Air Force’s PME classrooms with the potential for further expanded use across Air University classrooms.

Who Should Participate? Interior designers, design students, architects, engineers and artists with talents in designing and outfitting educational and training environments.

What’s in it for you?

  • A chance to promote your work with the Air Force as a collaborator and/or customer
  • Official recognition for your company or idea
  • The opportunity to help the Air Force improve the operational effectiveness of the valiant people that keep us safe

When presenting a solution, what are the component parts that we are looking for?

In Phase I, we will accept straightforward sketches illustrating your proposed solution displaying the concepts and ideas of the various spaces along with an accompanying White Paper detailing your ideas and prospective costs for implementation. The paper should have evidence showing the submitter’s cost estimate, timeline for delivery/completion, and capability for their solution.  Please note, graphic artistry is not a requirement for this stage.


If invited to participate in Phase II, it should include a minimum of two-color drawings from different views for each space (classroom, office, auditorium, and circulation areas) providing the judges the most impactful perspectives. Submitters should include a proposed floor plan for each space, clearly illustrating the suggested room/space layout.  Additionally, Phase II submissions must contain a detailed list of each type of recommended product/furniture, including estimated cost per item, the recommended number of each product, and the vendor(s) used in developing the inventory.  Lastly, in Phase II, participants should submit a second White Paper detailing their design methodology, to include their approach to blending military education, student and instructor needs, and if possible, Air Force history.

After the Phase II evaluation, select participants will be invited to Pitch their concept to a panel of judges for the potential of winning cash prizes from $2,500 up to $7,500. Participation in the Pitch can be done in person or over a pre-arranged video teleconference. Invitees will be notified of the Pitch requirements and rules.

Products Provided to Participants and an Opportunity to Participate in a Site Visit

MGMWERX will make available examples of a floor plan along with photographs of example spaces from an Air Force Non-Commissioned Officer Academy to use in your creation. This is only an example, as each school and its classrooms, et. al, may differ slightly in size and layout.


[2] Adapted from


What are some of the specific areas that a solution must address?

  1. Objective: Design submissions should promote student engagement that will stimulate interaction, collaboration, and assists with instructional processes.
    1. Interactive: Must engage the students via an immersive environment
    2. Scalable: Must be flexible enough to support varying levels of interaction from very basic levels of taxonomy to the more involved apply and create levels.
    3. Intuitive:
      1. Space layout must be comfortable to navigate and arrange.
      2. Must be simple for instructors to manage with minimally wasted space.
  • Spaces should be multimodal; allowing for the simultaneous use of space for various educational outcomes, i.e. collaboration, lecture, and individual study.
  1. Desired Outcomes:
    1. Submissions should:
      1. Through images, demonstrate the blending of allotted space, furniture and students.
      2. Show how the designs stimulate innovation, collaboration, and learning.
      3. In drawings and descriptions, demonstrate how your chosen color pallets, flooring and furniture will enhance the learning of students.
      4. Incorporate the integration of Air Force history in modern education.
  1. Only solutions submitted on the Challenge submission site will be accepted for consideration.

NOTE: Submissions will not be considered if certain software requirements beyond a Microsoft Office Suite or online viewing are required to evaluate the visual portion of your proposal. However, if you utilize a 3-D modeling program or other graphical display software, you can submit your solution in MP4 or MOV format or provide a link to YouTube or Vimeo for viewing and evaluation.

  1. Other considerations:
    1. How shall we measure the success of submissions?
      1. Design Requirements: Solution meets design constraints of the challenge
      2. Effectiveness: Solution satisfies required criteria of the design challenge
  • Functionality: Designs function as intended and do not impede learning.
  1. Construction Quality: Solution shows attention to material selection and assembly
  2. Creativity: Solution is creative, including meaningful characteristics
  3. Aesthetics: Solution is neat and organized and shows consideration for final appearance of the design. Visually appealing with attention to details.
  1. Limiting factor:

Changes to the infrastructure of the facility cannot be made. Submissions should incorporate solutions within constraints of the current infrastructure.

Challenge Deliverables:
Phase I: Provide sketches illustrating your proposed solution displaying the concepts and ideas of the four spaces (classroom, office, auditorium, and circulation spaces) along with an accompanying White Paper detailing your ideas and estimated costs for execution in each space. In a broad sense, please ensure you provide an estimated timeline (in weeks or months) that you believe it would take for your designs to be completed.  Finally, list any unique capabilities of your solution that would set your submission apart from others. There is no minimum/maximum page count for the White Paper.

If selected to participate in Phase II: Present more detailed space drawings with your floor plans, complete furniture inventory, and a detailed White Paper explaining your solutions for each space. There is no minimum/maximum page count.

How long is the Challenge, what is the Challenge process, and what’s next?

  • Posting a Phase I Solution: Solutions can be submitted between the Open and Close dates published below.  Late solutions will not be accepted, and only solutions submitted on the Challenge submission site will be accepted for consideration unless other arrangements are made in advance.  The submission platform requires a written summary of your concept, which will be visible or “open” to any registered user of the submission platform.  There is a link provided in the submission section to upload your White Paper to a location that is only visible to MGMWERX and the USAF customer.  No information that is declared to be proprietary information will be made public, unless posted in a public field on the submission form.
  • Phase I Solutions Open: 02/17/2020 @ 12:00 AM CST
  • Phase I Solutions Close: 04/06/2020 @ 11:59 PM CST
  • Air Force Customer Review, Selection, and Invitation: During this stage, a team of Air Force customers will review solution proposals. The top solution(s) meeting the specified requirements will be invited to participate in a second, more in-depth, Phase II submission.  Advancers will be notified no later than 04/9/2020.
  • Phase II Solution Submissions:
  • Submission Open: 04/13/2020 @ 12:00 AM CST
  • Submission Close: 04/24/2020 @ 11:59 PM CST
  • Air Force Customer Review of Phase II submissions, along with selection and notification of Pitch Invitation: During this time, the same team of USAF customers will review updated solution proposals.  The top solution(s) meeting the specified requirements will be invited to participate in a Pitch Day.
  • Pitch Day: Exact date TBD week of 11 May 2020
  • Winners Announced: Within one week of Pitch
  • Awards: During this segment, selected winners will be compensated for their submissions.

Some government contracting terms and conditions

  • Announcement of MGMWERX events that are considered to have high potential for further actions that may be accomplished via FAR-based contracting instruments, Other Transactional Authority for Prototype Projects per 10 USC 2371b, prizes for advanced technology achievement per 10 USC 2374a, and/or prize competitions per 15 USC 3719, may be made at the MGMWERX Challenge website.
  • All announcements made at the MGMWERX Challenge website are considered to satisfy the reasonable effort to obtain competition in accordance with 10 USC 2374a(b), 15 USC 3719(e) and 10 USC 2371b(b)(2).

All FAR-based actions will follow announcement procedures per FAR 5.201(b).

Have few questions!? That’s a good thing!
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