Houston's Best Buildings

The best buildings in Houston and beyond: This year's AIA Awards celebrate history and stunning innovation

A dozen structures designed by architects practicing in the Houston metropolitan area stand out as the best works this year — with most of the projects right here in the Bayou City -—in a prestigious design competition.

AIA Houston recently made the announcement during its annual Design Awards ceremony, held at the Petroleum Club of Houston this year.

Photographs of the winning projects will be featured in an exhibition opening July 31 in collaboration with the 2014 Student Biennial at Architecture Center Houston, 315 Capitol St., Suite 120.

Jurors Wendy Evans Joseph, FAIA (Cooper Joseph Studio, New York City); Matt Kreilich, AIA (Snow Kreilich Architects, Minneapolis); and Jing Liu (SO - IL, Brooklyn) deliberated the more than 100 submittals to declare this year's winners.

Click through the slide show to see the best in residential and interior creations, restoration, renovation and urban design as described in the proposals.

Morris Architects
Lone Star College EMI - University Park
Architecture greater than 50,000 square feet
Architectural design team: Dean Barnes, AIA; Andy MacPhillimy, AIA; William Truitt, AIA; Qeturah Williams, AIA; and Marsha Bowden, AIA

The loosely wooded site of Lone Star College, an existing late '70s corporate campus organized formally but without spatial relationships, now operates as a community college. The new 70,000-square-foot Engineering and Manufacturing Institute is designed to take typical suburban office park construction into an integrated classroom and lab space.

Taniguchi & Associates, with Kendall/Heaton Associates, and Geoffrey Brune, FAIA
Asia Society Texas Center
Architecture less than 50,000 square feet
Architectural Design Team: Taniguchi & Associates with Kendall/Heaton Associates and Geoffrey Brune, FAIA

The architectural concept for Asia Society Texas Center creates a place that encourages each visitor to draw unique reference to Asian culture through the societyʼs program offerings. The building is carefully scaled to its two-story residential neighborhood and connected to the community by its public spaces and gardens.

Energy Architecture
Gewinner Residence
Residential Architecture
Architectural Design Team: Jim Gewinner, AIA, and Amanda Smith, AIA

The owners wanted to maximize their views of the Texas Hill Country, being as delicate to the site as practical, and to minimize the visual presence of the house on the site. Their desire for a modest size (about 2,100 square feet), a minimalist plan with a degree of separation for the guest bedroom and expanses of glass to accent the views became the basis of the design.

LOJO Architecture
Nested House
Residential Architecture
Architectural Design Team: Matthew Johnson, AIA; Jason Logan, AIA; Josh Robbins, AIA; and Michael Viviano, AIA

Situated in Houston along a bayou, The Nested House serves as a guest house. By "nesting" successive layers of outdoor and indoor materials, the Nested House integrates site and structure to extend a small program into a larger context.

Murphy Mears Architects with William T. Cannady, FAIA
Zaguan House
Residential Architecture
Architectural Design Team: Murphy Mears Architects with William T. Cannady, FAIA

Houston's Zaguan House is an L-shaped, 3,000-square-foot house wrapped around a courtyard connected to an open air portal, or zaguán. The design allows the prevailing breeze to flow through and cool the terrace during hot and humid summer months.

Carefully aligned windows throughout the home allow for passive cooling with cross ventilation.

kinneymorrow architecture
Decatur Street Renovation & Addition
Renovation / Restoration
Architectural Design Team: Taryn Kinney, AIA, and Michael Morrow, AIA

The Decatur Street House, built in 1894, is located in Houston’s Sixth Ward Historic District. The structure spent the last several decades in a state of dilapidation until a young couple sought to reimagine the neglected property as their first home. The project was subject to design guidelines enforced in the historic district.

Kirksey Architecture
Beth Yeshurun Day School Renovation
Renovation / Restoration
Architectural Design Team: Gary Machicek, AIA; Nicola Springer, AIA; and Steve Durham, AIA

Natural light, color and movement are a few of the design principles that guided the renovation of Beth Yeshurun Day School. While the adjacent synagogue references the proud tradition of the congregation, the design for the new school celebrates the future.

Kirksey Architecture
Harris County Precinct Two Sylvan Beach Pavilion
Renovation / Restoration
Architectural Design Team: Benito Guerrier, AIA; Kathleen Jircik, AIA; and Doug Hammel, AIA

The pavilion was damaged by seven hurricanes over the years, including Ike, which in 2008, caused the closure of the pavilion. The design team’s goal was to restore this gem to its former mid-century modern glory while updating it to meet current coastal windstorm requirements.

By studying historic photos and original plans, the team was able to carefully restore the space. 

Stern and Bucek Architects
C. Milby Dow Residence
Renovation / Restoration
Architectural Design Team: David Bucek, FAIA; Daniel Hall; Jesse Cheng; Chisun Rees; and Danny Rigg, AIA

1305 South Boulevard, originally known as the C. Milby Dow residence, is located at the southeastern entrance to the Broadacres Historic District. This two-story Georgian home was designed by John Staub in 1926 and has a 1963 addition also by Staub.

The historic residence was conserved and renovated to retain historic fabric. In addition, the site was transformed with a new garden design with brick masonry walls surrounding the sides and rear yards.

Intexure Architects
Tripartite House
Interior Architecture
Architectural Design Team: Rame Hruska, AIA, and Russell Hruska, AIA

Set on a busy street in a transitional neighborhood, this project reflects quality and sustainability. The home is anticipated to receive LEED platinum status though use of sustainable materials, energy-minded features and low-flow plumbing. An expandable south‐westerly solar array offers future energy independence.

kinneymorrow architects
Daryl Howard Art
Interior Architecture
Architectural Design Team: Taryn Kinney, AIA, and Michael Morrow, AIA

This mixed-use building on a small Austin-area ranch was designed for a printmaker who required the studio to be housed in a pre-engineered metal building. The design includes compacted spaces with expansive views and natural textures against machined products.

Rottet Studio
Seyfarth Shaw
Interior Architecture
Architectural Design Team: Rottet Studio

Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, relocated its Houston office to the 14th and 15th floors of Pennzoil Place. The client specified a need to maximize the number of attorneys per floor, increase the number of team spaces and provide lounge spaces to promote a more team-oriented atmosphere.

It was also important to incorporate views of the Houston skyline so every employee could enjoy them.