AIA Sandcastle

Saturday August 25, 2018

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

East Beach
1923 Boddeker
Galveston, TX 77550

Event Underwriter


Gold Bucket




Educational Boards Sponsor

Media Sponsor

First Aid Tent Sponsor

Friends of Sandcastle

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

(Check out photos from this 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

Congratulations to Amaya Labrador for designing the 2018 AIA Sandcastle Logo!

• • • • •

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 over 60 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 Golden Bucket, awards are given in several categories including Traditional Castle, Architectural, Kidtastic!, Houston-centric, Superheroes, Pop Culture, and World History 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.

Event Day

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, or rapid transit to Galveston or the event. Carpooling is strongly recommended. Allow 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.

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


Please contact East Beach 1.409.762.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.

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



AIA Sandcastle Tent Vendors [PDF 813.43 KB]