ARCHIVE HISTORY: BEGINNINGS                              Archive Home

In the late 1980's, the outgoing Texas Chapter President inquired about the fate of award submissions for the Chapterís annual Design Awards Competition.  He had enjoyed the annual awards dinner at which slides of winning projects were shown and wanted to use those again in an educational setting.  The answer to his question revealed that the winnersí submissions had variable fates:  some were returned to the submitting firms and most wound up in a box with that year's Jury Chair, typically relegated to garage or closet storage.  Since these represented the best work done by Texas landscape architects as judged by peers, the author decided an archive of each yearís winners could create a legacy for the chapter and serve as an important tool for future case studies and long-term project assessment. 

Annual design award judging for the Texas Chapter ASLA has been a reciprocal process with other ASLA chapters for almost twenty years in response to criticism that in-state juries reflected unavoidable biases.  Each year, the chapterís jury chair identifies another chapter that agrees to exchange projects for judging. Typically around 35 projects are submitted with approximately half receiving awards in the categories of Design, Unrealized Design, Research & Planning and Communications.  

Succinct in format, each project submission consists of a two-page project description outlining the role of the landscape architect as well as unusual conditions and solutions confronted in the project.  Up to ten slides with individual descriptions are permitted.  Photographs, copies of documents such as master plans and design guidelines and even some full-scale drawings are often included as explanatory material.

Gathering the award submissions material from years past was not simple - some years' submissions were not together, other years were gone except for a list of the winners.  Fortunately the archival expectation was added to the design award submission requirements by the mid-1990s so project winnersí materials are now sent from the jury chair to the author for archive cataloguing.  


The archive now contains 361 award-winning projects judged as the best between 1986 and 2005. What  began in a large file cabinet had by the mid-1990ís  outgrown its physical space and was increasingly difficult to manage. The dream was to make the best of Texas landscape architectural design and planning available to students, professionals and the public via the World Wide Web.  Advances in hardware and software and clever utilization of available student labor made this possible beginning in 1997. At present 250 projects are viewable via the website:  Scanning started with the most current years and earlier years are added as opportunity and time allow. 



                                          Archive Home  ::   Archive History   ::   Research   ::  About the Website