2017 AIA Austin Design Award Winners

Austin, Texas, is a mecca for design these days. A bustling economy combined with a strong contingent of architects keeps current work at a very high level. Below is full coverage of the residential winners and a complete list of winning firms and projects. AIA Austin has also assembled a series of short videos about the winners here.

From AIA Austin:

Austin, Texas (May 15, 2017) – AIA Austin hosted their annual 2017 Awards Celebration at Saengerrunde Hall on Friday, May 12. The AIA Austin Design Awards program showcases excellence in design produced by AIA Austin members as selected by a panel of distinguished jurors.

This year, jurors included Cade Hayes; David Darling, AIA, IIDA; Elizabeth Moule, AIA; and Todd Schliemann, FAIA. The Design Awards Committee coordinates both the annual AIA Austin Design Awards Competition and the Awards Celebration to celebrate the accomplishments of its members as they relate to architecture.

Winners of this year’s AIA Austin Design Awards included:

1. Lake | Flato Architect – Blue Lake Retreat

2. Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects with Michael Dennis & Associates – Campus Master Plan – The University of Texas El Paso

3. Lemmo Architecture and Design – Clear Rock Lookout

4. alterstudio architecture, LLP – Design Office

5. Black + Vernooy – IH-35 Redesign: Reconnecting Austin

6. A Parallel Architecture – Lake Austin Residence

7. Nick Deaver Architect – LeanToo

8. STG Design – Seaholm Power Plant

9. Mell Lawrence Architects – St. Edward’s Alumni Gym

10.Page – Texas Capitol Complex Master Plan

11.Page – The Cistern 12.Michael Hsu Office of Architecture – Tilley Row Homes

Awards of Merit were given to:

1. Tim Cuppett Architects – CORNUCOPIA a garden shed

2. Michael Hsu Office of Architecture – P. Terry’s Flagship

3. MJ Neal Architects – Transformer Also recognized at the event were Anthony Alofsin, FAIA and Luis Jauregui, FAIA, two AIA Austin Members who were elevated to the distinguished level of Fellowship.

AIA Austin Design Awards

A Parallel Architecture

Lake Austin Residence

Like a butterfly specimen pinned to its mounting, this sinuous lake-front home’s light floating roofs are anchored to its site by heavy rusticated limestone masses, while its horizontal footprint is spread out and sewn through the vertical punctuation of mature sycamore, cypress and pecan trees. The resulting form reflects the organic character of its site, and offers a combination of transparency and solidity, incrementally tuned to capitalize on its relationship to the scenic, but recreationally active lake front.

At the glassy center of the home, the structural system is exposed to reveal a rhythmic steel vertebrate that organizes the primary public spaces and provides definition and scale to the spacious rooms. A warm interior palette of oak, mahogany and cedar serve as a soft counterpoint to the glass and stone, exuding a relaxed livability paramount to the homeowner.

The landscape is carefully understated while accommodating many amenities, including a large boat dock, fishing pier, sandy beach, and onsite services such as geothermal climate control, waste treatment and water collection.




Lemmo Architecture and Design

Clear Rock Lookout

Johnson City, TX

Square footage: 450 sf

Clear Rock Lookout is a raw steel hunting blind, writing studio, and observation deck that celebrates the stunning landscape and wildlife views. The building is nestled below a limestone cliff edge, and has to be “discovered” when approached from the top of the mesa. This gradual reveal of the building strengthens the unfolding landscape panorama made possible from the unique vantage provided by the structure.

The site was specifically chosen for its views by the owner after years of slowly traversing and mapping the wooded cliff edge. The modern form contrasts with the Hill Country vernacular used on the rest of the 1,000 acre West Texas ranch. Naturally weathering steel was chosen to age with the surroundings and to pay homage to the owner’s youth spent welding oil tanks.

Large sheets of glass, a variety of warm woods, and a highly detailed assembly complete the “jewelbox in the landscape” expression of the lookout.




Lake|Flato Architects

Blue Lake Retreat

Marble Falls, Texas

Blue Lake Retreat celebrates the nostalgic memories of the client’s childhood summers spent on the lake. Responding initially to the site’s steeply rising topography, a vertically structured house quickly became the obvious design direction.

The long, narrow 3-story residence dramatically culminates at the top floor, set just above the tree line — providing nearly a 180-degree view of the lake beyond. The third floor north-facing glazed wall offers unobstructed views of the lake, while smaller punched openings in the south-facing wall give deliberate glimpses of the rugged beauty of the hillside behind, showcasing the counterpointed landscapes.

Further emphasizing the site’s two uniquely juxtaposed landforms, the third floor’s cantilevered deck reaches out toward the water while a bridge on the opposite side of the home anchors into the hillside behind.

Bedrooms are tucked below on the lower two floors. All circulation is exterior, allowing further interaction with the outdoors. A two-story boathouse mimics the design of the house.


2,678 sq ft conditioned

5,284 sq ft unconditioned




N i c k  D e a v e r  A r c h i t e c t


Austin, Texas

Project Size: 1,900 Square Feet

A couple liking the vibe of South Austin found a 900 sf 1936 cottage crowded between leaning live oaks and a drainage easement to a creek. They wanted a home to share with close friends and a respectful, but modern reinterpretation of the modest, gabled house.

New floating terraces and a hovering addition mediate the sloping site and allow water to flow to the creek. The new design intertwines interior and exterior spaces and makes the landscape a central part of the architecture.

Modern windows with an all white paint scheme help simplify the older structure. An elemental steel and glass 1,000 sf lean-too addition contains a carport, a wide entry gallery and screened porch.

The new addition, clad in reused galvanized metal (from the old garage roof), is long and low in proportion, contrasting with the slightly taller and more symmetrical older home with its clean white teardrop siding.




Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Tilley Row Homes

Tilley Row Homes is an eight unit, five-star Austin Green Building rated town home project located in the Mueller development east of downtown Austin. The development serves to help fill the ‘missing middle’ housing between single family and larger multi-family developments. At 1,800 square feet each, the houses are compact, but the repetition of forms created an economy of scale allowing quality materials and architectural details possible.

The typically traditional three gabled roofs are modernized in the removal of the overhangs, cladding in white stucco, addition steel and glass balconies and rich material details like warm wood shingles and colorful tile.

Each unit had finishes tailored to the homeowner. The inspiration for the interior design is a modern farmhouse with color feature pops of blue and blush on a crisp white backdrop. Each unit includes a tall bookcase with cable railing that doubles as a guardrail and screen for the stairway.




Awards of Merit

Tim Cuppett Architects

Cornucoppia, A Garden Shed

Located in a central Austin neighborhood comprised mostly of 1950’s era starter homes, this garden shed serves to replace the storage component of a dilapidated single car garage.

Nestled between a cluster of vintage ligustrum trees and a full sun garden plot, the trees provide late afternoon shade on a translucent roof. Contents of the shed are visible by moonlight as a result of  the material selection. Heat gain through the roof is mitigated by passive cross ventilation. The shed is clad 3 sides with painted HardiePanel while the street facing façade consists of a cantilevered cedar rainscreen. The cantilever elongates the building’s proportion and provides a sight screen for garden equipment beyond.

Fencing pickets were chosen for the rainscreen cladding with the idea that when weathered, the structure would become more fence than building as viewed by passers-by. The pickets are arranged in a woven pattern which emulates a cornucopia basket, a whimsical gesture of encouragement to the owner/gardener to produce a seasonal horn of plenty.




MJ Neal Architects


Austin, Texas

Client request: Convert a single car garage into a new playroom that opens onto the side yard.

Concept: A space that can be engaged for play by young and “old” children while merging inside and outside into a symbiotic relationship that transforms itself according to occasion, season, or whim.

Also of relevance where the existing house’s lines and materials, as well as the intimate urban scale established in the neighborhood decades before, now being consumed by unsympathetic renovations and McMansions. Respecting the intent of the original architect, a well known mid century modernist, was, and still is, of primary concern for the current architect who renovated and added onto the house several years earlier.

As important as it is for the playroom to engage and delight the family and friends that dwell and visit the home it is as important to incorporate the project within the community at large. The folding deck becomes the “Front Porch”, providing the possibility for interaction with one’s neighbors as they pass by. The new fenestrations become a conversation opener. The blue color scheme not only enchants the children but also uplifts the mood of the street.



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