Galveston Beach: Taking Sandcastles to a Whole New Level


Most everyone has childhood memories of building sandcastles either at the beach or in a sandbox.  But for the team members of the American Institute of Architects Sandcastle Competition, those childhood playtimes were primordial preparation for the big league.

For over two decades teams of architects, designers, and engineers have “suited up” in Galveston with shovels and sculpting tools in hand to construct some of the world’s most elaborate sandcastles.  The competition really heats up as teams compete for the prestige of taking home the coveted 1st place Golden Bucket Award.  Second and third place winners receive Silver and Bronze Shovel Awards, respectively.  Numerous other honorable mentions are named, including Most Complex, Most Hilarious, Most Realistic, Best Architecture, and Best Traditional.  Recognition is also given for teams with the best t-shirt designs, costumes, and best signage, allowing numerous avenues for teams to exhibit their creativity.

The creative sandcrafting you see is no impromptu affair, as most teams spend months preparing ideas, collecting tools, and assigning tasks for the day of the competition.  Aside from awards and a day of creative fun in the sun, the sandcastle competition is also a fundraising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundations, with proceeds going to support various public education programs sponsored by the Houston chapters.  The event is also one of the top five revenue-generating events for the City of Galveston.

If this sandtastic competition is one you haven’t experienced yet, it’s time you pack up your beach gear and head down to Galveston beach Saturday, June 1, for a first class seat at this one-of-a-kind event, notably listed in Patricia Shultz’ book “1000 Things You Should See Before You Die”.  The assembling begins at 9 a.m. and continues for five hours, with awards presented late afternoon.

For more information or to get involved in the sandy competition, visit the AIA website here.


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