Texas Tech University

Alumni Design Award

The Design Award is sponsored by the Design Leadership Alliance and is competitive in nature. This program is intended to promote public interest in architecture, recognize excellence in design, promote the work of Texas Tech University Huckabee College of Architecture alumni, and to provide a sustainable source of funds for scholarships for students of the college.

Submission Guidelines

Jury Information

2023 Design Honor Award

Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park · Austin, TX

Clayton Korte

Known as Austin's first park, this 84-acre park nestles between downtown and sprawling neighborhoods along the banks of Shoal Creek, which cuts across the city. The city adopted a master plan for the park focusing on its built elements, historic features, and cultural resources. The first phase of implementation based on this plan rehabilitated, preserved, and enhanced the park's southernmost tip, affectionately referred to as the park's “recreational heart and cultural soul.”

The new design weaves together the mature existing vegetation with a robust program of facilities and amenities including event rental spaces, new restrooms and storage facilities, natural playgrounds, a basketball court, and an interactive water feature that recalls the karst limestone aquifers found in the Texas Hill Country. Existing features, including a densely wooded hillside, Civilian Conservation Corps-era picnic tables, and the historic Tudor Cottage, are preserved and enhanced to embrace the park's rich history.

Built in the 1920s, the Tudor Cottage is one of the earliest park facility buildings constructed in this area and sits on a bluff overlooking the southern end of the park. Originally built as a restroom, the cottage was transformed into an ideally-situated event space given its close proximity to park activities. Interior walls were removed to open the space up into a single room, and a new roof structure allows a vaulted ceiling to create a more expansive sense of space while maintaining the building's original form. A north-facing glazed opening connects the interior to a large terrace overlooking the park.

Located on the park's western edge near the cottage, two new buildings serve to support the park. With walls of steel mesh for ivy to overgrow, the buildings tuck into the slope of the hill and gently recede into the background. The tree-covered hillside inspired the buildings' muted material palette of vertical board formed concrete and weathering steel, where the patina will develop with time. A restroom building is organized like a classic dog-trot, with the vanities in the breezeway, looking through the building into the woods beyond. The storage building opens up to a new courtyard connecting the two buildings, where park goers and volunteers can congregate. With amphitheater-like seating built into the hillside, this space is the perfect spot to organize park volunteer workdays or just rest in the shade.

A new, low ribbon-like limestone wall visually and physically unifies the various outdoor elements as it winds its way through the park. Stepping up and down in elevation, the wall transforms to become a series of steps up a hillside, a seat wall, and other times acts as a flush band within the sidewalk. It also morphs into the aquifer-like water feature that cools young park-goers' feet in the summer months, before symbolically highlighting the source of the natural restored spring on the hillside at Tudor Cottage.

2023 Design Honor Award

Spelunk · Austin, TX

Nick Deaver Architect

Shibui is a single-family residence, located above the Blanco River in Wimberley's oak-juniper woodlands that balances simplicity and complexity through careful details and textures. The original suburban-esque cabin and its prior additions were awkwardly sited, overlooking a gully to the east, and abruptly meeting an asphalt driveway to the west. Vehicular access to the site compressed entry to the house but channeled water during the frequent storm events around the low-slung structure.

Approaching the design ecologicaly focused on saving existing paths and re-routing the arrival sequence to maintain the home's adjacency to the drive. A rebuilt skewed limestone retaining wall lengthens the entrance to a glass entry carved asymmetrically through the structure.

The architecture brings attention to the path of the sun and the living spaces are sheathed in frameless windows that are detailed to be site glazed from the floor to the ceiling reducing the cost of window pre-manufacturing. Wide, cinematic views juxtapose low 8'-0” ceilings with folding glass walls that emphasize while minimizing thresholds to nature. Thin, white walls diffuse light reflecting nature's subtle changes.

Exterior materials reference rural country buildings with the refined interior spilling out in the form of white window frames and a white porch. Simple gables rendered in dark horizontal metal siding strobe in the sunlight under delicate eaves and deep, protective overhangs.

Excess water during severe rain events runs along the drive and sheets across the property. The solution was to embrace the drive as an aqueduct that steps down to the structure and is part of the progression of water into the landscape in the back. Masonry piers are veiled behind galvanized welded wire panels to allow nature to grow and provide room for the shifting soils, tree roots and stormwater.

2023 Design Merit Award

Shibui · Austin, TX

Nick Deaver Architect

A restoration of the original historic structure centered on maintaining the fabric of the downtown neighborhood, while the site's steep pitch grade led to the opportunity for a modern intervention. Excavation of the crawlspace allowed for a concrete and glass studio and secondary dwelling, placed discreetly beneath the antique house.

In contrast to the refined details and vertical proportions of the traditional bungalow above, a horizontal, rough, minimalist architecture of cantilevered steel arbors, board-formed concrete walls, and wide panes of glass are carved out from under it. Paramount to the design are full-bleed visuals that use detail-less floor to ceiling glass walls to decompress interiors and extend outdoor spaces to the extent of each property line. Floating roofs connect the new and old architecture offering distinct moments throughout the landscape.

Activating the landscape for two separate dwellings on a narrow infill lot required privacy and subtle separation. The bungalow connects to an elevated room-size covered porch shaded from the western sun by kinetic aluminum blades. This outdoor living space serves as the roof for the secondary grotto-like dwelling below that enjoys its own private experience of the outdoors under a concrete and steel arbor. Access to and parking for the underground residence is off a separate lower ally.

The modern dwelling and working studio interiors are partially buried taking advantage of the mass and thermal qualities of the earth. These lower spaces provide privacy and are designed as extensions of the outdoors. Over time the owners plan to age-in-place transitioning to live in the single-story secondary dwelling as their primary residence.

Past Recipients


Honor Award: Steinberg Hart · McGregor Computer Science Building

Merit Award: DUST Architects · Marfa Suite

Merit Award: Rhotenberry Wellen Architects · El Granero

Merit Award: Steinberg Hart · Miro Towers

Citation Award: Scott Hall, AIA while at Omniplan · Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum


Honor Award: SODA (Thailand) Ltd. · Hilton Yala

Merit Award: Rhotenberry Wellen Architects · Corporate Office

Citation Award: Rhotenberry Wellen Architects · Bynum School

Citation Award: Dekker/Perich/Sabatini · TTU Weeks Hall

Citation Award: Rhotenberry Wellen Architects · Sitt'n & Shower'n

Citation Award: Welch Hall Architects · Twist


Honor Award: Nick Deaver Architects · LeanToo · Austin, Texas

Merit Award: SHM Architects · A Quiet Entry · Dallas Arboretum

Citation Award: Craig McMahon Architects · New Shoes · Big Spring, Texas


Merit Award: Rhode : Partners (Architects) · University House · Austin, Texas

Merit Award: Parallel Company (Developers) · University House · Austin, Texas

Honorable Mention: First Lamp Architects (Architect) · Herron Island Cabin · Lake Bay, WA