Whimsical contest to draw sand sculptors to Galveston Island
The 25th annual AIA Houston SandCastle Competition, sponsored by the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects, blows onto Galveston Island's East Beach Saturday, June 4.
Rudy Del Bosque II, SandCastle Competition committee chair, said more than 60 teams from the architecture, design and construction community will be digging in.
That's quite a few more than the first competition 25 years ago, when only five or six teams signed up.
"In the beginning, we had no rules," Del Bosque said. "Then it got crazy. So we added rules."
The rules are pretty straightforward, he said. One: Remember it's a family event, so construct cautiously. And two: Use only what Mother Nature has provided - sand from the beach and water from the surf.
Del Bosque said many teams build something relating to current pop culture - what's on the small screen, silver screen or radio.
Last year, the Matrix Spencer architecture firm of Houston took home the Golden Bucket Award for its "How to Train Your Dragon" sculpture.
The Public Favorite Award, however, went to Jacobs Engineering of Houston for a sculpture titled "Alice in Wonderland." Other award categories cover best team signage, most complex, best traditional, most hilarious and most lifelike.
Nannette Deming of Bay Architect, 18201 Gulf Freeway, Webster, said it's harder to create a sturdy building out of sand and water than brick and mortar.
Last year, Bay Architect had fun putting its own spin on what global warming might look like in Texas, sculpting snowmen and snow angels - out of sand, of course. This year, they're focusing on ants. "We're going to show how ants build mounds and structures," said Bay Architect sandcastle team member Alpa Patel.
Extra help on deck
They'll have a few extra hands this time around, as for the first time in several years of participating, Bay Architect is partnering with Rice & Gardner Associates, 6161 Savoy Drive, Houston.
Trophies and plaques are awarded as prizes, with the Golden Bucket being the most coveted, followed by the Silver Shovel, Bronze Shovel, and a few honorable mentions.
Teams will begin building at 10 a.m. Del Bosque said, but folks are welcome to come an hour early and ask the sculptors questions before the competition is up and running.
A crew of approximately 12 judges will tour the beach beginning at 3 p.m., awarding points on originality of concept, artistic execution of the concept, technical difficulty, carving technique, and utilization of the site.
When all is said and done, team members themselves may well collapse under the heat of the day, but please, Del Bosque asked of the public, don't collapse the sandcastles.
"We just ask people to leave the structures the way they found them," Del Bosque said. "It will be a nice surprise the next day for people who didn't realize this was even going on."
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