AIA Sandcastle

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Event is free and open to the public
East Beach parking is $15 (CASH ONLY; NO ATM)

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East Beach
1923 Boddeker
Galveston, TX 77550

Event Underwriter


Gold Bucket




Partners in Protecting the Environment

Educational Boards Sponsor

Media Sponsor

First Aid Tent Sponsor

Friends of Sandcastle

The AIA SandCastle Competition is a fund-raising event for AIA Houston and ArCH Foundation as well as one of the top five revenue generating events for the City of Galveston. This year, 50 teams have their eyes and shovels set on winning the prestigious Gold Bucket Award. Firms begin months in advance generating ideas, developing designs, and assigning duties. On the day of the event the teams, stretched along the beach front, meticulously sculpt their piles of sand and work non-stop for five hours.

The judging of the sculptures is rated on originality of concept, artistic execution, technical difficulty, carving technique, and utilization of the site. In addition to the Gold Bucket, awards are given in several categories including Traditional Castle, Architectural Icon, Kidtastic: Fables & Folklore, Houston-centric, Marine Life, Pop Culture: Decades, and Geometric as well as Public Favorite, Tallest Standing Structure, Greatest Feat of Structural Ingenuity, team t-shirt design, team signage, and costume. At the end of the day, everyone goes home with memories of a great day at the beach filled with fun, sand and sun.

6:30am / Beach opens for teams and sponsors
9:00am / Public is encouraged to begin to arrive to watch the competition.
10:00am–3:00pm / Teams compete and build.
1:00pm–3:30pm / Public favorite voting
3:00–4:30pm / Judging
4:30pm / Awards Ceremony

Parking at East Beach Galveston is $15 cash only, collected by the Galveston Parks Board. There is no ATM.  There is no Metro bus service, train line, beach shuttle service or rapid transit to Galveston or the event. CARPOOLING IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED; ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME FOR TRAFFIC AND PARKING.  

Feel free to bring your own picnic: be sure to mind the City of Galveston's rules and regulations governing East Beach.  Visit or call 1.409.762.EAST for more information.  Private team and sponsor tents are not open to the public.

Reserve your beach umbrella & chairs in advance by contacting Beach Buddies at 409.443.5103.

Please contact East Beach @ 409.762.EAST or visit with questions about beach rules regarding pets.

Please respect the hard work of our participants by not touching any of the sand sculptures even after the event. Many spectators visit the beach the next day, on Sunday, to view and enjoy the sculptures. 


Congratulations to MIGUEL AVILA, winner of the 2019 AIA Sandcastle Logo Design Competition!


* * * * *

Congratulations to all the 32nd Annual (2018) AIA Sandcastle Competition Winners:

(Check out photos from last year's event here!)

Gold Bucket - "Scarytales", Kirksey + Metzger
Silver Shovel - "Mother Seuss", HKS Architects
Bronze Shovel - "Harry Potter and the Sandcastle Tournament", Stantec Architecture
Annual AIA College Challenge - "The Hou Cube", UHD ASCE Student Chapter
Best Team Signage - "Toys R Gone", VLK Architects/DBR Engineering
Best Team T-Shirt - "What-a-castle", Perkins + Will
Best Costume - "Dragons Love Tacos", Rice University FE&P
Most Sustainable Team - "The Hungriest Caterpillar", Page/
Sydney Lenoir Public Favorite Award - "What-a-castle", Perkins +Will
Greatest Feat of Structural Ingenuity - "Scarytales", Kirksey + Metzger
Tallest Standing Structure - "Scarytales", Kirksey + Metzger
Most Epic Fail - "Poco Loco", Powers Brown Architecture
Best World History - "Journey on the Orient Express", Jacobs / Bartlett Cocke
Best Superheroes - "Cajun Navy", SWA / Mills
Best Pop Culture - "New Gen Game of Life", HOK / Hensel Phelps
Houston-Centric - "Be Someone", David Weekly Homes
Kidtastic! Kids’ Books - "Mother Seuss", HKS Architects
Best Traditional Castle - "ASCE Houston’s 75th Birthday Castle", ASCE Houston
Best Architectural Icon - "Sand Palace + Seawall", David Watson, Architect and Associates / Galveston Local


If you are interested in particIpating in Sandcastle as a team or sponsor, please contact Debby Joiner (teams) at or Aleks Savitski (sponsors) at or call 713-520-0155.



AIA 2019 Sandcastle Rules [PDF 885.55 KB]