The Texas Society of Architects Studio Awards recognize real or theoretical unbuilt projects that demonstrate excellence in design. Submissions from students and practitioners are judged on equal footing, and projects of all types are considered together. Each year, the jury sifts through the entries looking for standouts that embody strong ideas critical to contemporary practice, resolve them thoroughly, and present them clearly.
The 2017 Studio Awards jurors met on Thursday, August 3, at the Chicago office of Studio Gang to deliberate 70 entries that ran the gamut from art installations and small pavilions to major healthcare facilities and regional infrastructure.
“Texas feels rich with ideas. As an outside juror, the biggest trick is to sidestep one’s own agenda and thinking and inhabit the mind of that architecture for a brief set of spreads. It’s so important for submissions to be precise and deliberate and convincing, with everything from the text, to the title, to the decisions about what kinds of drawings to show. We chose projects that considered the award format as being more akin to a trailer than a feature-length film. You need to draw attention quickly.”
Margaret McCurry, FAIA
“Considering that we come from different areas of expertise and ages, we all came together quickly and happily. It speaks to the strength of what we selected, and how for each of us, these projects touch a chord. Entrants should think back to when they were in school, making presentations to other architects, and document things more carefully from beginning to end so juries can really understand the what and why of it. There were a lot of projects that didn’t have a why. I think it would be good for a few that we looked at and dismissed to go back and submit again.”
Jeanne Gang, FAIA
“What you see through these projects is a place — Texas — that’s discovering who it is. Some of the projects are really sophisticated responses to older structures, or artifacts, or the culture, but there’s also architecture that’s working on a global scale: considering the effects of climate change, or housing in Germany. I would like to see projects at this stage problematized to the point that you can see what the stakes are and not just the brief. I would like to see more speculative thinking. How does it impact architecture, or push the boundaries, or rethink