The Texas Society of Architects’ 2020 Design Awards jury convened virtually on May 7 to review 205 entries from across the state. This is the second year that TxA asked jurors to award approximately 10 percent of submissions, effectively doubling the number of awards, in an effort to diversify the practices and project types honored. This year, after a thorough, but truncated and not exceptionally convivial, deliberation process, the jury selected 19 winners. While they praised the high quality of the residential work reviewed, they only gave awards to four homes, making it the weakest showing for this category (usually the strongest in Texas) in recent memory. As in past years, most of the winners were small to midsized practices, but here large corporate firms walked away with nearly a quarter of accolades. The majority of crowned architects were concentrated in Austin (10 winners) and Dallas (five winners). San Antonio’s Lake|Flato Architects, usually the unquestioned leader of the pack, tied with Austin’s Baldridge Architects, each firm taking two trophies — probably because Lake|Flato didn’t have much to submit after sweeping up six awards in 2019. The firm’s Austin Central Library project, however, has yet to find a TxA jury susceptible to its charms.


“I love the community facility projects — that was really great to see — and those sort of public buildings. … I would add I thought we’d see more landscaping projects. There were a lot of projects we chose that integrated landscapes in a lot of ways. We certainly loved the Test Pavilion, but I was surprised there weren’t more projects that were just about a park or landscape.” 

– Stella Betts, LevenBetts, New York City

“The big takeaway for me was this sort of inventiveness through a modernist lens, if you will, of all these different types and regions, and a sort of reach for a modernist regionalism. … I would hope that out of future submissions, more hard performance facts are given, in terms of energy use and intensity. … I did find the sustainability statements to be really broad brush.”

– Dan Kaplan, FAIA, FXCollaborative New York City

“There’s a profound amount of building that is happening in Texas. … I think the strongest projects are the ones that convey that understanding of site and landscape — the building and its interaction with the landscape, and with the light, and sort of the vastness. I think that discussions around urbanism and the creation of cities — introducing residential density into areas — those are the things that it shares with many places in the West.”

– Kristen R. Murray, FAIA, Olson Kundig, Seattle

“I would have expected maybe more submissions of high-rises with what was going on before this event we have going on right now. You see the craft, you see the love, you see the passion for design in most of the projects we went through. I know you said this year was less than previous years, but even 205 submissions to me was a lot. I think we got to see a whole variety, a whole spectrum of talent. …Coming down to the 19 that we have was a very interesting selection.”

– Michel Rojkind, Rojkind Arquitectos, Mexico City

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