Texas Architect Sept/Oct 2008: Design Awards
Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other editorial content largely written by AIA members in Texas. That collective participation was the basis of Texas Architect’s recognition by the national AIA with a 2010 Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement.
texas architect 9 / 10 2 0 0 8 41 2008 Design Awards Jury Last February TSA’s Design Awards Committee, with representatives from almost all of the 17 AIA chap- ters across Texas, gathered in Austin to elect a jury for this year’s program. Texas has been privileged to host a variety of astounding critics throughout the Design Award’s 57-year history. This year was no exception. Billie Tsien, AIA; Steven Ehrlich, FAIA; and Judith Dupré accepted the challenge of reviewing 267 Design Award entries and 87 Studio Award entries. The ensuing deliberations showcased each juror’s individual perspective and approach to their work. Billie Tsien, AIA, is a founding partner at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York City and teaches at Yale University School of Architecture. Some of her firm’s works include Cranbrook Nata- torium, American Folk Art Museum, and the Neurosciences Institute. She is profoundly interested in materiality, the poetics of architecture, and the meaning of our built environment. Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, is founding partner of Steven Ehlrich Architects in Los Angeles. His work is driven by his deep-seeded interests and understanding of the connections between architecture and culture. Some of his firm’s latest works include the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, the Kendall Square Biotech Laboratory, and the University of California’s new Irvine Arts Building. Judith Dupré is a freelance writer and educator whose works encompass the connectivity of architecture, people, and their spirituality. Some of her books include Bridges, Skyscrapers, Churches, and, most recently, Monuments. She lives outside New York City and is currently at Yale University investigating the impact of time, memory, and ritual on architectural meaning. reading the data sheets that accompanied each entry. With a short list of 24 projects, the jury decided to look more closely at those printed project descrip- tions and compare them to the other remaining semi-finalists. They posted each project sheet on the conference room wall, then proceeded to care- fully dissect each project. They searched for the core concepts of the project and measured its success. A project was eliminated if its central theme was too difficult to decipher. For those projects that com- municated their concepts clearly, the jury searched for details that did not align with the expectations established by the design. This painstaking process ultimately yielded this year’s 15 Design Awards. After completing the Design Awards phase, the jury members moved on to the Studio Awards. From the start all members agreed that Studio Award winners should display a strong academic approach that had limited potential for realization—purely theoretical was the consensus. With this focus the jury quickly eliminated projects that either did not clearly communicate their conceptual positions or those that seemed like projects still “on the boards.” This winnowed the projects from 87 to 13. The jury then grouped like-minded projects and contrasted them against their closest competitors, ultimately revisiting seven remaining projects to elect four projects for Studio Awards. To say this year’s entries in the awards program were impressive would be an understatement. Per- haps it was said best by one of the committee mem- bers, an accomplished architect, who said to me in the midst of the presentations, “It is always humbling to see all of these great works.” michael rey, aia, practices with jacobs in san antonio.