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AIA Austin Design Awards Recognize Innovation and Impact

Check out the remarkable projects that earned prestigious accolades at the 2024 Design Awards

During their annual Awards Celebration on May 15, the 2024 American Institute of Architects Austin Design Awards celebrated 17 winners. Austin Mayor Kirk Watson’s Senior Policy Advisor, Max Lars, presented two Community Impact Awards, honoring projects that benefit Austinites and are built with public funding. Three jurors selected the winners from 116 submissions, spanning three categories: Excellence, Merit, and Special Commendation. The event showcased recent work by Austin architects and AIA Austin members.

Barton Hills Residence by Alterstudio Architecture (photo by Casey Dunn).

Barton Hills Residence

Commendation: Command of Materiality: Alterstudio Architecture

The Barton Hills residence is admired for its integration of concrete board, concrete walls, and Core 10 steel, seamlessly connecting the interior and exterior. Moreover, a notable feature from Alterstudio Architecture is the climbing wall incorporated into the building with a unique seated area in the concrete wall. The house is compact in volume, with a minimized exterior envelope that reduces energy use. This efficient massing strategy ensures the residence is well below the energy use benchmark for similar houses.

Campsite at Shield Ranch

Design Award of Excellence: Andersson Wise Architects

The Campsite at Shield Ranch, designed by Andersson Wise Architects as a nature-immersion kid’s camp, is a sustainable, off-grid community within a 6800-acre sanctuary. It utilizes solar power, rainwater, and natural materials that blend with the environment. The structures, prefabricated off-site and installed on sloping terrain, provide comfort during hot summers with natural airflow and solar-powered ceiling fans.

City Park Residence by Alterstudio Architecture (photo by Photo by Casey Dunn).

City Park Residence

Design Award of Excellence: Alterstudio Architecture

City park residents particularly admire the house for its sitting on the hill, utilizing the slope as a natural fourth wall for the lower courtyard seamlessly integrating the landscaping with the building. Furthermore, it exceeds energy reduction requirements, achieved through a well-designed envelope. The house’s angles create a dynamic yet harmonious connection with the landscape.

Comedor by Olson Kundig and McKinney York Architects (photo by Aaron Leitz).


Design Award of Merit: Olson Kundig and McKinney York Architects

Comedor, a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Austin, creates a protected urban sanctuary for a progressive dining experience. Situated at the intersection of Fifth and Colorado, the building features a dark brick and glass façade that glows at night. Moreover, Comedor reduces energy use by leveraging indoor-outdoor conditions, fans, and natural breezes, enhancing its sustainability.

Eastside Early College High School by Perkins&Will (photo by Dror Baldinger).

Eastside Early College High School

Design Award Commendation: Legacy: Perkins&Will

The East Side Early College High School project stands out for its transformative impact on a marginalized community and its rigorous design solutions. To honor the legacy of the original school, the design team retained the one-story red brick structure as the base of the new four-story building and incorporated salvaged materials to create a legacy wall inside the new building. Furthermore, extensive sun studies enabled the implementation of a massive glazing system around the building, enhancing its overall design and energy efficiency.

Hyatt Centric Austin by Nelsen Partners (photo by Nick Simonite).

Hyatt Centric Austin

Design Award of Excellence: Nelsen Partners

The Hyatt Centric Hotel in downtown Austin is a modern 246-room building that integrates hospitality, commerce, and culture. It features outdoor dining, a rooftop bar, meeting rooms, and a fitness center. Furthermore, the hotel includes a ground level restaurant and 8th floor terrace bar. The review team praises the strong, bold façade, reuse of the existing foundation, and optimized materials, noting its significant contribution to Austin’s city fabric.

Mishpocha Woods Compound

Design Award of Excellence: Low Design Office

In Austin’s Montopolis neighborhood, LOWDO created the Mishpocha Woods compound, which features a 2500-square-foot main house and four 1100-square-foot auxiliary houses integrated with the surrounding environment. Correspondingly, the compound exemplifies affordable housing without public funding by carefully preserving existing trees and the local ecosystem and utilizing affordable local materials, including repurposed trees.

Music Lane by Lake|Flato Architects (photo by Peter Molick).

Music Lane

Design Award of Merit: Lake|Flato Architects

Music Lane spans three city blocks with three buildings and a four-story underground parking garage. It offers diverse dining, retail, entertainment, and fitness options, with shaded courtyards, paseos, expansive outdoor decks, and rooftop spaces designed to encourage visitors to linger. Notably, Music Lane sustains its landscaping without using municipal water, seamlessly integrating landscape architecture with the overall design.

OFF Beat

Design Award of Excellence: Nick Deaver Jes Deaver Architecture

OFF Beat stands out as an excellent example of a house edition, retaining the original part of the home along the street frontage and encouraging flora and fauna habitation on the site. Notably, the retention of the old house highlights its most important sustainable aspect. This thoughtful approach blends the old and new elements seamlessly, demonstrating a generous respect for the site.

Roam Ranch Residence by Baldridge Architects (photo by Casey Dunn).

Roam Ranch Residence

Design Award Commendation: Vernacular Adaptation: Baldridge Architects

Roam Ranch blends modern and traditional design elements, featuring a distinctive long roof and lantern-like carport that integrate into the Hill Country setting. Impressively, the project links existing and new elements through outdoor circulation, preserving the indoor-outdoor connection. Furthermore, with minimal mechanical climate conditioning, the design relies on overhangs for temperature regulation and offers traditional wraparound porch features for indoor-outdoor living.

Rollingwood Residence by Casey Dunn
Rollingwood Residence by A Parallel Architecture (photo by Casey Dunn).

Rollingwood Residence

Design Award of Merit: A Parallel Architecture

With its composed facade and warm, inviting interiors seamlessly connected to the surrounding landscape, this home provides a tranquil retreat. Noteworthy sustainable strategies, such as integrating permeable pavement and preserving existing trees, mitigate stormwater runoff. Furthermore, the meticulous attention to detail is evident in the thoughtfully composed proportions and the use of clerestory windows to flood the kitchen with natural light, enhancing the overall ambiance of the space.

Round Rock ISD Natatorium by Kirksey (photo by Slyworks Photography).

Round Rock ISD Natatorium

Design Award Commendation: Sustainability: Kirksey

The RRISD’s Aquatic Practice Facility, designed for efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and future growth, serves as a UIL competition-level center. It accommodates three high school swim teams and hosts UIL meets, featuring a 50m competition pool, a warm water pool, and 21 lanes. Further, notable features include passively ventilated enclosures, a custom modular structure for air movement, radiant heating, and a CHP generator for energy efficiency.

Travis County Probate Courts by Lord Aeck Sargent and Limbacher & Godfrey Architects (photo by Casey Dunn).

Travis County Probate Courts

Community Impact Award: Lord Aeck Sargent and Limbacher & Godfrey Architects

The restoration of the Travis County Probate Court building, originally constructed in 1936 in Modern style, showcases the beauty of its public areas. This restoration project underscores the sustainability of preserving historic buildings, breathing new life into cherished structures of the past. The meticulous restoration work brought back the original glory of the building, revealing period materials like marble, aluminum, and architectural metalwork railings. This restoration serves as a poignant example of reviving a historic building, ensuring its legacy is not forgotten but celebrated for generations to come.

Uchiko by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (photo by Chase Daniel).


Design Award of Merit: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Uchiko’s execution demonstrates exceptional attention to detail, care, and craftsmanship. Notably, the restaurant achieves substantial energy reduction due to its thoughtful material choices and the shaded exterior terrace. This design allows for various uses of the space while maintaining a consistent and well-controlled climate. Furthermore, Uchiko’s high level of design ingenuity and execution reflects a commitment to sustainability and functionality.

Westview Residence by Alterstudio Architecture (photo by Casey Dunn).

Westview Residence

Design Award Commendation: Site Strategy: Alterstudio Architecture

The architects of the Westview residence preserved the natural landscape while constructing the house amidst dense woods. Focusing on sustainability, they preserved the land and respected natural features such as the wet weather creek and oak trees. Additionally, by delicately hovering the house above the ground, the architects minimized disruption to the ecosystem, demonstrating a commitment to environmental stewardship.

Wolf Ranch River Camp by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (photo by Chase Daniel).

Wolf Ranch River Camp

Design Award of Excellence: Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Wolf Ranch River Camp impresses with its thoughtful approach to environmental preservation and sustainable design. As such, by implementing tree protection, water management, and careful shading studies to minimize solar heat gain, the camp demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability. Additionally, it embraces outdoor spaces as communal meeting areas, reducing reliance on conditioned rooms and contributing to energy efficiency.

Zilker Studios by Forge Craft Architecture and Design (photo by Casey Dunn).

Zilker Studios

Community Impact Award: Forge Craft Architecture and Design

Zilker Studios accommodates 110 single adults on a compact site while preserving two heritage live oaks. They incorporated a “pod-oculus,” a vertical opening in the building’s concrete podium, to facilitate natural light penetration and connect residential and public spaces. Developed by Foundation Communities, the project excels in energy efficiency and cost optimization, achieving net-zero-ready status. Additionally, jurors lauded the project for seamlessly integrating affordable housing requirements with the site’s natural features and neighborhood context.