Let's go to the beach

AIA Houston to Host 2022 Sandcastle Competition in Galveston

Grab your sand bucket: we’re headed to the beach.

By Amarie Gipson With Alexia Partouche

For the past 35 years, architecture firms in and around Houston have spent months ideating and developing designs for each year's annual Sandcastle Competition in GalvestonThe contest is a fundraising event for the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Architecture Center Houston Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness of architecture’s influence in Houston communities.

How does it work?

This month, when the Sandcastle Competition returns for its 35th edition, teams of architects are expected to take over the Galveston beachfront and build for five hours in pursuit of the coveted Gold Bucket Award. The sandcastles are rated on artistic execution, originality, technical difficulty, carving technique, and how competitors use the beachfront.

When does it all get started?

The public is encouraged to begin to arrive to watch the sandcastle creations in progress at 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 20. Between 10 a.m and 3 p.m, teams will build and complete their sandcastles.

What about parking and food?

Parking is available at East Beach for $15, cash only. No public transit is available for the event, so plan ahead or carpool to see all of the action unfold early. As for food, pack a picnic, or enjoy East Beach's snack bar and variety of food trucks. More information on the park is here.

2018 Sandcastle Competition. Image courtesy of AIA Houston. 

How can I vote?

Sarah Killingsworth and Surinder Aulakh of the AIA will serve as co-chairs for this year's competition. Attendees can cast their votes between 1 and 3:30 p.m., followed by judging and the final awards ceremony.

Returning Award Categories
  • Best Traditional Castle
  • Best Architectural Icon
  • Greatest Feat of Structural Ingenuity
  • Public Favorite
  • Best Team T-shirt Design
  • Best Team Signage
  • Best Costume 
New Award Categories for 2022 
  • Pop Culture: Food, Selfies & Social Media, “What’s Your Hashtag”
  • Kidtastic!: Board Games
  • NASA JSC 60th Anniversary: Space Race
  • Americana (Route 66, Midcentury Americana)

For more information, visit here.

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