The 2014 Design Awards jurors met in Austin on May 8–9 to review all projects submitted for consideration. Brief descriptions summarizing the jury’s response to selected projects are included below (Special thanks to juror Tim Love, AIA, for coordinating the gathering of this information). The winning projects will be featured in the September/October 2014 issue of Texas Architect; the firms/designers will also be honored during TxA’s 75th Annual Conference and Design Expo in Houston this November.
2014 DESIGN AWARD RECIPIENTS
The (Almost) All-American Home (Houston)
Lantz Full Circle
An intensely personal architectural collage that self-consciously includes both off-the-shelf and highly customized elements. Surprisingly, the sheer density of architectural moves hold together because of the sensibility of the architect and the high level of craft throughout. The language of the architecture also holds together precisely because it references mid-century modern precedents, both high and low, including the Case Study houses.
Big Tree Camp (Gonzales County)
Tobin Smith Architect
Nice essay in classic Texas ranch architecture because of the clear plan diagram organized by stone walls that are alsocentral to the tectonic strategy of the house. The floating roofs contrast with the walls, despite the fact that they are constructed of classic wood purlins. The jury also appreciated the general restraint of the interior. The casework and flush details reminded us of Louis Kahn’s early 60s houses in the suburbs of Philadelphia.
Dallas City Performance Hall (Dallas)
Corgan with Skidmore Owings & Merrill
This project is a refreshingly direct solution to a performance hall. The architects have deftly hidden all of the service requirements and egress stairs to maximize the transparency from the street and between the lobby and the hall. Particularly ingenious is the way that public circulation surrounds three sides of the building perimeter allowing for large windows along the building flank. These strategies add up to a performance space that is also a thoughtful work of urban design.
Green Lantern (San Antonio)
John Grable Architects
A highly episodic and well-crafted house that, despite the large number of moves, holds together because of the sensitivity to orientation, views, and spatial sequence. The indoor/outdoor relationship of all of the spaces in the house seemed to important drivers of the design and successfully dissolves the perimeter of the building.
Hog Pen Creek Retreat (Austin)
The voids through the house pavilions are organized by series of walkway and bridges that skewer the elements like a toothpick in a club sandwich. The result is powerful framed views and a lightness to the architecture. The project is successful at all scales, from the disposition of outdoor rooms to the rigor of the system of purlins that organize the disparate roofs. The project is well-proportioned, nicely scaled, and has the appropriate level of craft for the location.
Hughes Warehouse Adaptive Re-use (San Antonio)
We liked the way the enclosed office space didn’t jibe with the existing perimeter walls, thus creating a well-scaled courtyard appropriate to the culture of the design firm that occupies the renovated industrial space. The jurors also likes the contrast between the strong perimeter of the building the subtractive and transparent spaces inside. The light and airy interior shows off the existing architecture. Carlo Scarpa-like details, such as the screens in the courtyard openings and the bench, might be a little precious for the existing building, but they are still appropriate because they say “thoughtful architects work here.”
La Hacienda Casitas (Harlingen)
Nicely conceived community housing project that deploys a limited number of building types to create an urban neighborhood. The overall site plan creates meaningful pedestrian connections between the units and public spaces. There is also a thoughtful storm water strategy that also helps tie the buildings to the site.
Mestizo City (Miami, Fl.)
Muñoz & Company (formerly Kell Muñoz Architects)
“Mestizo City” is an ingenious and minimal installation that evokes Latino culture through the aggregation of the alarmingly colorful Jarritos soda bottle. They have always looked tempting in the vending machine. Now we know why.
Munday Library at St. Edwards’ University (Austin)
The addition is appropriate to the macho 70s-era building because of the simple spatial diagram, the elegant vertical grain of the window walls, and the simple industrial fixtures and fittings. The jurors appreciated that the addition is both part of and separate from the existing building because of its massing and the offset in plan. The big windows on either end of the space connect both the old and new building to the campus.
Ottmers Residence (Gillespie County)
Vincent Snyder Architects AIA
The project is sophisticated but not precious. It’s an interesting take on sun shading — a double wall with rough openings (rather than the more typical modernist screens). It both works and gives the house its barn-like quality. We also liked the window into the living space on the entry side that frames the sculptural stair. Nice use of vernacular precedent that actually — and for a change — influenced the poetics of the project.
Pearl Brewery Redevelopment Master Plan (San Antonio)
Pearl Brewery is a nicely executed new district at the border between an authentic work of urban design and a commercial lifestyle center. The site plan and the play between new and old buildings seems sensitive and well-scaled, especially through the choices of architectural language and the spatial relationships that were created. The use of repurposed elements from the brewery gives the project a grain and authenticity that is missing from many other similar districts.
Perforated House (Houston)
Logan and Johnson Architecture
The house beautifully juxtaposes a corrugated metal skin that defines the primary volume and a series of subtractive voids that both promote air flow and read as veiled glowing spaces in the evening. The entrance to the house is especially well-handled as a contemporary interpretation of a porch and by the way materials are combined. Overall, the jurors appreciated the imposed restraint.
SK Ranch (Center Point)
SK Ranch is an exquisite project that successfully ties a site-wide landscape strategy to each of disparate house/pavilions. The use of walls of rough-hewn stone walls juxtaposed with Miesian exposed black steel frames and plaster work results in an architecture that emphasizes the timeless aspects of mass and volume.
Temple Dining Hall & Booth Student Center at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (Austin)
A highly restrained and elegant project that successfully juxtaposes attenuated metal frames, stucco, concrete, and stone walls. Importantly, the architect maintained mastery of the tectonics throughout. The dining hall, in particular, was an elegant and light-filled space that deployed the steel frame to maximum effect. The project also successfully nestles into the existing campus plan while taking advantage of the topography and views.
The Thinkery (Austin)
Koning Eizenberg Architecture with STG Design
The jury liked the simple red “big box” volumes in the landscape. The sculptural mass results from subtractive moves in plan that have corollary benefits in the landscape. As a result, the project proposes an innovative new role for big box architecture as a civic building. The interior demonstrated excellent control of the relationship between of the frame, infill elements, and service cores.
The smart repurposing of a parking garage for office space that capitalizes on the clear structural grid and zoning of the original plan. The interiors pack a lot of design energy into the space without masking the good bones of the original structure.