Look Inside the Architectural Plans From the Winners of AIA Dallas’ 2020 Unbuilt Design Awards

Last week, the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (virtual) gathered to celebrate the pioneers in design and experimental concepts.

At the event, the 2020 Unbuilt Design Awards were presented, which, according to the AIA Dallas, represent the “highest recognition of works that exemplify outstanding achievements in non-built projects by Dallas architects”. Three designs were honored from 42 submissions from 30 architectural offices in Dallas. A fourth People’s Choice Award was given to the Batu Hotel by 5G Studio.

On May 28, architects, Allied experts, community leaders and industry enthusiasts got involved. The winners were selected by a jury of distinguished architects: Inanc Eray, founding partner of Eray / Carbajo; Jen Maigret, AIA, Founding Principle at PLY + and Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan; and Jesus Robles, Associate AIA, founding director of DUST and instructor at the University of Arizona.

“Regardless of whether they offer a different perspective on the integration of place and context, typologies, cultural narratives, and the act of living, the winners found that architecture and its impact can be something bigger than itself,” Robles said in an explanation.

Beck Group’s Kei Lee, this year’s chairman of the AIA Dallas Design Awards Committee, said the Unbuilt Design Awards gave a glimpse into the future. The program not only shows what could one day be built, it also shows great designs that will never be built.

Although this year’s event had to be held virtually to ensure attendees were safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Lee said it allowed the Dallas-produced projects and the city’s design culture to stand out from the technology available People spread across the world.

“We found projects that could stimulate the imagination for possibilities that are normally not convincing and inspiring in the built environment,” said Jenn Maigret, AIA, of the jury’s selection process. “The winners came out on top for a variety of reasons, but all of them presented a synthesis of ideas that enables us to discuss how architecture can contribute to our discipline and beyond.”

Here are the winners of the proposed projects and their descriptions, according to AIA Dallas and the judges.

Frisco Public Library, Gensler (Frisco, TX)

“I loved the way the history of the Blackland Prairie site flowed into the design and reflected in the facade’s response to the location,” said Robles of the project. “It’s exciting. The element of adaptive reuse of this typology has an important and challenging aspect that this project addresses, and that ties together the larger conversation of site, story and context throughout the design.”

Converse Guest House, Eric Gonzales (Vogafjos Farm Resort, Iceland)

“The jury found the clarity of the concept of the twins with nine grids clear and convincing. The diagram became richer due to its sensitive location reaction and the spatial balance between individual and collective experiences in the midst of a breathtaking landscape, ”said Maigret.

Dallas Freeways Hacked, Agent Architecture (Dallas, TX)

“We all found this a thought-provoking suggestion and we appreciated the playfulness and use of satire. It’s very timely and has something meaningful to say about how social distancing can help us redefine a positive urban future. The project is refreshingly optimistic, ”said Maigret.

All photos are from AIA Dallas. View the full gallery of this year’s entries and recipients here.

Go on the list.
Dallas innovates every day.

Sign up to keep an eye on the latest and upcoming developments in Dallas-Fort Worth every day.


  • Here are the companies and leaders who drive innovation in North Texas.

  • UX talent

    Multidimensional UX: Preston McCauley has helped UX professionals find new ways to approach the vehicle.

  • James Helm, VP of Design at Intuit [Photo: Intuit]

    Intuit is committed to design thinking, says Intuit VP of Design James Helm. He speaks to Dave Moore about the thinking that precedes formal design and how the company keeps designers who may receive multiple recruiting calls each week.

  • Norm Cox was a member of the Xerox team that literally created the desktop environment we use every day. [Sources: Norm Cox, Alexey-Bezrodny/iStockphoto]

    Tap a menu on your smartphone to pay for your coffee or edit a Word document. Either way, you can think of Norm Cox. The North Texan was a member of the Xerox team that developed the graphical interface that we still use today.

  • Cassini Nazir is the director of design and research for the ArtSciLab at the University of Texas at Dallas. [Photo: UTD]

    It would make sense that the best user experience training include a first person experience. It’s about finding needs and figuring out how to meet them.

Comments are closed.