Life of an Architect 2012 Design Playhouse Competition – The Winners

May 7, 2012 — 11 Comments

The first annual Life of an Architect Playhouse Design Competition has some to a close – at least for everyone except for the lucky winners!

Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition

This last Friday – May 4th – we took the top 20 entries that were selected and whittled them down to the top two. In all, the process took about 90 minutes and there were some interesting debates over the different merits we were using to evaluate. The general concepts we used were:

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

It might sound easy but picking the top 2 was a lot more difficult than you might think – not one entry was a unanimous winner. I was not one of the judges although I was there to answer questions and provide some guidance on the process of building and protecting the playhouses.


Life of an Architect - Playhouse Competition 2012 Live Jury Round

There were 4 judges present, some who have requested to remain anonymous … (I can only think it’s because the amount of attention they might receive from the people who were not chosen to win). We had a representative from AUI, a construction company who will be overseeing the building of these playhouse, one of the design partners from my own office, Scott Taylor – a previous playhouse competition entrant himself – and a guest judge (who graced the cover of Residential Architect last year.

Since it was my competition and I was the host, I went out and picked up some libations and snacks for the event … anything to keep the judges happy while they graciously donated their time to participate in the process. I am grateful to them.


Life of an Architect - Playhouse Competition 2012 LIve Jury

Life of an Architect - Playhouse Competition 2012 LIve Jury

After discussing all the entries, we did a blind vote to see where everyone’s thoughts were … and there were 5 entries that garnered 3 out of 4 votes. These were pinned up and debated collectively against each other. This is the really difficult part because in the end, there were three that we really felt deserved to be built.

… but I’m still working on that.


I am pleased to announce the winning playhouse for the

2012 Life of an Architect Playhouse Design Competition!


Nooks and Crannies by Bogdan Tomalevski and Tarek Abdel Ghaffar

Nooks and Crannies Playhouse

Entry by Bogdan Tomalevski and Tarek Abdel Ghaffar

Los Angeles, California


Beacon Playhouse by Peter Christensen

Beacon Playhouse

Entry by Peter Christensen

Miami, Florida



(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)


Information on Dallas CASA:


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.


Special Thanks to:

AUI contractors llc fort worth texas

This is the second year in a row that AUI Contractors has stepped up and funded the construction of several of these playhouses. I became familiar with AUI thanks to Tim Guedry, a friend of mine dating back to high school who is now the  Director of Commercial Construction Services for AUI. Considering that I am primarily a residential architect, their financial commitment speaks to how much they care about the work Dallas CASA is doing in the community.




Print Friendly

even better

  • Are the other entries available to view on here somewhere?

  • Pingback: Architects Who Blog()

  • Pingback: Architects Who Blog()

  • wwaloo

    I like the Beacon proposal.It is the best in my openion.

  • I think I like the Beacon the best… having a realistic environment as a kid helps fuel imagination… Both are great though! I’m jealous of the judges, I would love to see them all1

  • Nima

    I was one of the entrants too and like any other entrant, I wanted my design to be selected :D, but it wasn’t selected even at the first round… Although I appreciate the final selection, but I still believe there were some other designs (among top 20) with great ideas and potential to be a winner… Congrats to the winners… It was a pleasure for me to support Dallas CASA and had lots fun during designing… Cheers…

  • architectrunnerguy

    Great selections! A positive experience and a whole lotta fun. Can’t wait to see them built.


    • Thanks Doug,

      Can’t tell you how much I appreciated you contributing an entry. The bar was set pretty high and choosing just two to be built was more difficult than I think the judges were expecting.