The Texas Society of Architects Studio Awards recognize real or theoretical 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 — entries that resolve these ideas thoroughly and present them clearly.
The 2018 Studio Awards jurors met on Friday, July 20, at the Los Angeles office of Johnston Marklee to deliberate 59 entries that ran the gamut from art installations and small pavilions to city towers and regional infrastructure.
“I think there’s an interest in architecture with conventional systems and materials that is trying to redefine it in a different configuration. There’s a whole set of conventional systems that we know, but it’s all integrated into a smart system that establishes something new based on pre-existing structures or conditions or materials. In the academic projects we saw, there was an effort to get the knowledge from outside the classroom and read the context, read the existing situations, with attention. We saw students having to work together on collective projects, which is interesting and different from many of the architecture studios that we know.”
“In all the projects, the architects were dealing with materials; they were dealing with context, issues of preservation, urbanism — and they were asking very powerful questions about changing the industrial landscape towards a kind of social park with environmental interests. None of the projects that we looked at were just architecture for the sake of architecture — architecture that exists in a vacuum — but, rather, they were all looking at the context and very current problems of today. They were not utopian, but there was something sobering and real about all of this work, which is wonderful.”
“One of the things we talked about during the discussion was the way in which this body of work reflects something about the region of Texas. We saw some exciting rethinking of certain historic relics of past industrial practices; we saw architects working at many different scales; and we saw an important part of the future of the practice, where young, small practices are innovating with materials and practitioners are coming together and bringing expertise together. This very diverse collection of scales of work highlights the importance of precision design, precision thinking, and excellence in design.”