Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition 2012 – Round One

April 23, 2012 — 25 Comments

[Fanfare – dun dundun dunnnn!]

I am proud to announce that the first annual Life of an Architect ‘Playhouse Design Competition’ was an amazing and certifiable success!!

Life of an Architect Playhouse Competition

The playhouse design competition is coming to a close – we had the first round of judging last week, making this initial round of cuts was not easy. With registrations coming in from over 250 people from around the world – 14 different countries to be exact – I am overwhelmed and very happy with the response. I spent some time to make a graphic map that would indicate which countries had registrants (shown green) and the approximate location of each entrant (indicated with a red dot). I know everyone would like me to just cut to the end and announce who has advanced to this weeks final live jury round … but I need just another moment of your time.

When I started Life of an Architect back in January 2010, I had no idea what to expect or where this little experiment of mine would go. I wanted to connect with like minded individuals and see if I could communicate in a meaningful way using some new technology. I’d say it has been a smashing success but if nothing else, I have made connections and friends all over the world, some of you might even receive requests to play tour guide and host when I come to your city. Using this new platform, I thought it would be interesting to harness the charitable goodness that most people seem to have and host a design competition that would benefit children by designing, building, and raffling off playhouses.


Life of an Architect 2012 Playhouse Competition World Map

To keep things fair, I was not a part of this first round go judging since I knew some of the people how had submitted entries. There were a lot of entries that were worthy of advancing but based on the 250+ registrants, we capped the number of playhouses advancing to twenty. And remember, of these twenty, two will be built!

In no particular order, here are the twenty entries that have been advance to the live jury round:


The Modern Lemon by Matthew Kimball

The Modern Lemon Playhouse – entry by Matthew Kimball


3 Part Playhouse by Josh Ward

3 Part Playhouse – entry by Josh Ward


Peek a boo playhouse by Travis Durant Playhouse – entry by Travis Durant


The Board Game by Doug Burke and Steve Johnson

The Board Game Playhouse – entry by Doug Burke and Steve Johnson


Playhouse Broadway by Eugene Alforque

Playhouse Broadway – entry by Eugene Alforque


The Treeless treehouse by Katie and Ed Gorleski

The Treeless Treehouse – entry by Katie Friesen, Kevin Brown, and Ed Gorleski


Summer Fun House by Douglas Gliedt

Summer Fun House – entry by Douglas Gliedt


Alice's Card Shop by Paraskevi Papasotiriou

Alice’s Card Shop Playhouse – entry by Paraskevi Papasotiriou


Beacon Playhouse by Peter Christensen

Beacon Playhouse – entry by Peter Christensen


Light Stripes House by Henrique Barros-Gomez

Light Stripes Playhouse – entry by Henrique Barros-Gomez


Collector House by Leslie Robinson

Collector House – entry by Leslie Robinson


Creativi TeePee by Lexie Lowers

Creativi TeePee Playhouse – entry by Lexie Lowers


TunnelHouse by Scott McPherson

TunnelHouse Playhouse – entry by Scott McPherson


The Garden Cube by Preston Croxford

The Garden Cube – entry by Preston Croxford


Man Cave by Luke Archer and Marvin Moss

lil’ Man Cave Playhouse – entry by Luke Archer and Marvin Moss


Screen Play by Dylan Fuller

Screen. Play – entry by Dylan Fuller


The Shape Sorter by Dylan Fuller

The Shape Sorter Playhouse – entry by Dylan Fuller


Tower House by Loren Johnson

Tower House – Loren Johnson


Nooks and Crannies by Bogdan Tomalevski and Tarek Abdel Ghaffar

Nooks and Crannies Playhouse – entry by Bogdan Tomalevski and Tarek Abdel Ghaffar


Under the Big Top by Allison Moore

Under the Big Top – entry by Allison Moore

So there you have it – congratulations to the folks advancing on to the live jury round where 2 of these entries will be selected to be built and donated to Dallas CASA where they will be raffled off. My deepest thanks to all those who participated, the excellent showing from this years competition gives me a good feeling for what to expect and hopefully that will translate into building more playhouses next year.

(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

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.




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  • aditibisen1985

    i like nooks and crannies, peek a boo and light stripes 🙂

  • Calleigh

    looks so nice. I was planning for kids last semester (I am still uni student 🙂 ) I was so hard for me though.

  • Cruelspring2

    Love the Modern Lemon!  Wish I had one, and I’m not young.

  • Ryan

    Wow! Beacon, Screen Play, Man Cave, and Tower House were my favorites. 

  • Omar

    Congratulations to all finalists. Whatever the two final winners are I am sure they are going to be great 🙂 And Bob, you forgot to mark Egypt on that map 😛

    • Argh!! I did leave it out! Thanks for letting me know (I have the power to correct that little oversight)


  • Mark R. LePage, AIA, LEED AP

    Congrats to all the finalists. What a fantastic group of designs!! Best of luck with the event.

    • Thank you Mark – I was very pleased and overwhelmed at how the architectural community answered the call for charity. 

      We must be a pretty decent group of folks!

  • Excellent program and post Bob!  I wanted to share five playhouses that were designed and built by our local Austin Architects and Contractors with the Skillpoint Alliance Gateway Constructio Tech program.  The auction starts next week.

    • Thanks Susan – those are awesome! I forwarded your link to a few people who I thought would love it as much as I do.

      Best of luck with the auction!

  • Nelson Brackin

    It would be of great interest to see all of the entries on a website.  Are there any thoughts for doing this?  I greatly enjoyed seeing the twenty that you have shortlisted.  There are some that have offered interesting creative solutions.  Congratulations to the 20!

    • Hi Nelson,

      I thought about it but decided since I am the only person behind the scenes here, it would take too long to get the images sized correctly for showing. I’m not even sure how I would go about setting that sort of display system up – I am an architect, not a web coding master 😉

      Thanks for commenting, maybe this is something I’ll look into for next year.

  • The lighthouse one is my favorite, but only by a slim margin over about a half a dozen others.  Wow, they are all really great.

    • There were loads of really good ones that for one reason or another didn’t make the cut. For next year, I will try and assemble a more informative packet on the items that the jury tends to look for  – including things to avoid!

      Thanks for commenting Brian, I appreciate it.

  • My vote is for the 3-Part! That periscope/watch tower is exactly like the images that filled my head as I became infected with the desire to make architecture – age 8.
    Curtis B
    Host of “Burning Down the House” your weekly architecture fix, with over 50,000 listeners a week in 140 countries.

    • Thanks Curtis – glad you could stop in and take a look at the entries!

  • Deek D

    Wow! Wish I heard about it earlier= some great stuff here though!
    -Deek (Relaxshacks Blog)

    • Thanks –

      I hope to continue the trend and repeat the competition next year. Hopefully, based on the apparent success of this year’s competition, we will be able to add to the number of winners and playhouses I get built.

      That means you will need to submit!

  • Bugcoronado

    Congratulations to all who made this first round! Beautiful and creative work. A special congratulations to my brother for making this first round!! xo

  • Jordan

    As a guy that grew up in Texas, I would say the priorities are shade and ventilation. Without these two attributes, it is basically a hot box of death… 

  • Kyle

    Awe ;'( I didn’t make it. Well congrats to all who did.

    • Kyle,

      I can’t thank you enough for participating, it really does make a difference.


      • Kyle

        Np it was fun. I’ll be sure to enter next year.