AIA Unbuilt Design Awards Recognize Innovative Projects by Dallas Architects

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M3 Container Hotel
This hotel designed by Beck Architecture is made up of 150 shipping containers.

Dallas architects are designing amazing, mold-breaking structures for sites here and abroad, but not every design becomes more than a concept. Still, good ideas are worth recognizing, so the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects set out to highlight some of the most amazing unbuilt structures designed by Dallas firms.

Design award recipients were selected by a jury of globally recognized architects and brands. Jurists included Jenny Wu (Oyler Wu Collaborative), Elizabeth Whittaker, AIA (Merge Architects), and Adam Yarinsky, FAIA (Architecture Research Office). Of the 34 entries received, five received awards based on its response to cultural, social, environmental, and contextual challenges.

Two of the winners were conceptual designs for the Dallas Holocaust Museum, one is a striking airport terminal in China, while another is a pavilion that responds to sound. Other entries include a re-design of the first floor of the Belo building at 400 Record Street, urban retail infill on Fort Worth Avenue, and a cool hotel constructed with 150 shipping containers. Residential projects include a modern residence in Preston Hollow on Belmead, as well as a prototype for efficient multi-family housing dubbed “Grotto.” We also love the beautiful, modern concept for a public library in Vickery Park.

Vickery Meadow Branch Library
Oglesby Greene designed a bright and open public library branch for Vickery Meadow.

The May 28 opening at Life in Deep Ellum launched the exhibition of these unique concepts, which will be on display until July 11. You can select your favorite design for one of the People’s Choice Awards, which will be announced at the exhibition’s closing.

“The 2015 Unbuilt Design Award submissions highlight the incredibly diverse work being done by Dallas architects in communities around the world,” said Heath May, AIA, of HKS, Inc. May is the AIA Dallas Design Award Committee Chair. “This year’s winning projects exemplify beautiful and inspiring design that are responsive to contemporary issues.”

Jump to see more of these innovative designs!

RTKL Music Translator

B3 Plot Cultural Pavilion _ Concept, RTKL Associates, Inc., Dubai, UAE, (38,000 square feet): Using the building’s context and cultural influence as a guide, the pavilion’s design strives to create a community hub that will add value to the region. It provides a unique solution that combines cultural traditions with modern technologies to meet the needs of a growing neighborhood.

Grotto Siteplan

Grotto: An Infill Prototype, NIMMO, Dallas, Texas (1,650 square feet): The Grotto prototype presents a flexible yet efficient design to meet the needs and lifestyles of urban dwellers, while filling unoccupied land near downtown Dallas. The indoor and outdoor spaces feature multiple connections and uses. Its sustainable strategies and systems are implemented with a focus on construction quality.

GFF Dallas Holocaust Museum


Dallas Holocaust Museum I Center for Education and Tolerance, GFF, Dallas, Texas (52,230 square feet): The design features a hard-shelled vessel, wrapped by a transparent veil and entered through a garden. Solid and void, stone and glass, yesterday and tomorrow are juxtaposed to create tension, encouraging the visitor to look more deeply at the points of transition. At the conclusion, visitors will experience a towering plane of glass containing 60,000 stars, each representing 100 souls.

Corgan Terminal

Dalian Airport Terminal Competition, Corgan, Dalian, China (7,300,000 square feet): The terminal’s design aims to meet the needs of passengers while creating a unique experience. The flow-based, natural pattern design uses natural landscaping and tranquil spaces with cutting-edge technologies. It is environmentally friendly, economically right-sized, and capable of generating its own power and economic revenue through flexible, passenger-oriented operations and concessions programs.

OmniPlan Holocaust Museum

Dallas Holocaust Museum Center, OMNIPLAN Architects, Dallas, Texas (50,000 square feet): The design of this building aims to create an intuitive path for all visitors so that the focus is on the emotional experience of each exhibit with no distractions. This dynamic museum building sets itself apart from its neighbors, while complying with the requirements of downtown Dallas and its historic West End.




Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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