2014 Life of an Architect Playhouse Design Competition – The Winners

May 26, 2014 — 16 Comments

On Friday, May 23rd – we took the top 21 entries that were selected and whittled them down to the top two. In all, the process took just under 4 hours and there were some interesting debates over the different merits we were using to evaluate. The general concepts used were:

  • Overall Design
  • Appeal
  • Constructibility
  • Adherence to rules – mostly regarding the safe-guarding of the playhouses while they were on display

There were a total of 8 people casting votes for this final round of judging. There is no doubt that this many judges made the final round more difficult, but at the same time, there was a lot of discussion on the different merits of each playhouse. I can safely say that if I had chosen the winners the final group would have looked a little different – but I wasn’t a judge. Since this is really about the final product, rather than some purely abstract architectural idealized version of a playhouse, the cast of characters that make up the judging panel bring a myriad of talents and skills to the conversation.

Life of an Architect  Playhouse Winners Judging Round

The judges for this final round consisted of:

Ryan Thomason – Architectural Associate at Michael Malone Architects

Cindy (and David) Warner – Director of Finance and Administration for Dallas CASA

Jamie Cross – Undergraduate student – Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Biology and Business

Stephanie (and Scott) Fitzherbert – Brand Public Relations with the Richards Group

Kate Borson and Kate Swayze – 4th graders and generational style docents

We continued the trend inviting a diverse and well-informed group of judges. I am impressed with how serious the selection process is as reflected by the types of questions brought up.  Is it fun? Would a child like it? Would a parent want it in their backyard? What happens in 3 months, How would it age? The type of questions the judges ask reflects their own assumptions – ready to challenge people whenever there is a difference of opinion. In the end, all you have to do is look at the winners and the locations from which the designs came from to recognize that children are the same the world over.

Life of an Architect  Playhouse Winners Judging Round

Life of an Architect  Playhouse Winners Judging Round


Enough delay!! … I am pleased to announce the winners of the

2014 2nd Annual Life of an Architect Playhouse Design Competition!

(as a reminder, I am currently planning on building two playhouses but the possibility exists that an additional two could be built. As a result, there are two additional playhouses that were selected as “alternates” which will get built if we are able to secure the possible resources.)



1st Place Winner

Levente Skulteti: The Redball

Levente Skulteti – The Red Ball Playhouse
Brussels, Belgium

I am a 34 year-old Hungarian architect and I currently live in Brussels. As I am between jobs for the moment, I have some time and creative energies that I thought I’d put in something useful (doing competitions) and that’s how I found this one … and as I like working on small-scale things I thought I would give it a try!


2nd Place Winner

Kania P. Anggriany: The Hollow Tree House

Kania P. Anggriany – The Hollow Tree Playhouse
Bali, Indonesia

I’m a 25 year old woman – a full-time wife and half time assistant of a talented young architect … which happens to be my husband. Together we join various regional and international competition to challenge our ideas about design. I like kids and I love to have fun with them … that’s what I saw in this competition.


1st Runner Up

Patrick Ladendecker: Food Truck playhouse

Patrick Ladendecker – Food Truck playhouse
St. Louis, Missouri

Architectural designer/coffee snob working on completing my license (5 down, 2 to go).


2nd Runner Up

Alan Lau: The Twinkle Star Playhouse

Alan Lau – The Twinkle Star Playhouse
London, United Kingdom

I am an architect from UK, 34 years old and setting up my own studio at the moment. I am keen on architecture that connects with people ’emotionally’ and it reflects on my design too.


Congratulations to the winners and I would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You! to everyone who took the time to participate in this competition.

(in case you are new to Life of an Architect – here is a little information on Dallas CASA, and the volunteers that donate their time to abused and neglected children – these are the people these marvelous playhouses will benefit)

2011 Parade of Playhouses benfitting Dallas CASA

Dallas CASA (which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a nonprofit organization of community volunteers trained and supervised to serve as voices in court for abused and neglected children. On any day in Dallas County, there are nearly 2,000 children waiting for a safe place to live. Many times the CASA volunteer is the only constant in the child’s life during this very difficult process. Parade of Playhouses raises funds for Dallas CASA to continue serving more children who need safe, permanent homes where they can thrive.

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  • KatieBoBatie

    Congrats to the winners! I can’t wait to see them brought to life. Hey, Bob, you mentioned the possibility of having two more built if you could raise the funds. Is there anywhere that readers can make donations? I’m nowhere near Dallas, so buying a raffle ticket isn’t in my future, but I’d donate $5 for building material!

  • Zarina Ateig

    A million and one congratulations to both winners and runners up!
    What a fun project this was, and it was especially good to see so many of us from Ryerson University as finalists!

    I’ll definitely be back next year (maybe a triple-decker? just kiddinggg)

  • Bob T.

    Any chance you could let us know what CAD software(s) were used to produce the winners?

    • I will add that question to the winners profile feature – both Levente and Kania will be profiled here in more detail as their playhouses come closer to completion.

  • Anxiously waiting for the Red Ball Playhouse’s photographic documentary! Congrats!

    • me too – the construction drawings will be interesting to see as well 🙂

  • AlmostJane

    MY favorite is first runner-up! I can’t believe I’m this excited about something to which I made absoiutely no contribution or influence whatsoever! Congrats to all winners and participants alike. PS – prediction – the Red Ball project will be snapped up in minutes when it becomes available.

    • The way this event happens is that you buy a raffle ticket for $5 and then a random ticket is selected by a child on August 17th. Just think … the Red Ball playhouse could be yours for a measly $5 bucks!!

      • Can we enter the raffle and donate the playhouse somewhere local if we win? I’m in Ohio and wouldn’t want to incur the expense of shipping a playhouse, but would like to support the cause somehow…

  • Thanh Tran

    Among the 20 Finalist, the Red Ball Playhouse is my favorite. Congratulations Levente Skulteti.
    Too bad my playhouse wasn’t chosen :(. I will try harder next year. See you guys next year 🙂

    • Your design was in it almost to the end – jurors debated a long time on how the castle would look once you started introducing construction material seams to the crenellated towers. It was very hard to select the winners and no detail was to small to discuss

  • Michael Rollins

    Congrats to the winners! The red ball project is wonderful.

    • The red ball was a crowd favorite and I am excited to see it built

  • Courtney Price

    Will these be in Northpark? I see a familiar face amongst the judges 🙂

    • They will be on display at Northpark from August 1 through August 17. Yes – Stephanie and her husband Scott made excellent judges!