AIA Sandcastle

Saturday August 25, 2018

Save the date! The 2018 AIA Sandcastle Competition will take place on Saturday August 25 on East Beach in Galveston, TX.

East Beach
1923 Boddeker
Galveston, TX 77550

Event Underwriter


Gold Bucket




Educational Boards Sponsor

Media Sponsor

First Aid Tent Sponsor

Friends of Sandcastle

Team Registration for the 2018 AIA Sandcasstle Competition will open on Monday February 5th at 9am. Click here for more information.

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 Golden 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.

The event is underwritten by Thomas Printworks.

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.  ADDITIONAL PARKING AND SHUTTLE BUSES WILL BE AVAILABLE FROM STEWART BEACH. 

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 participating in Sandcastle as a team or sponsor, please contact Aleks Savitski at or 713-520-0155.

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

Congratulations to all the 31st Annual (2017) AIA Sandcastle Competition Winners:

Golden Bucket (1st Place), Kirksey + Metzger  - Smurf and Turf
Silver Shovel (2nd Place), Gensler + Harvey - Return of the Crawfish!
Bronze Shovel (3rd Place), Ziegler Cooper Architects - Quest for the Holy Pail
Honorable Mention (4th Place), Pfluger Flintco - Clash of the Icons
Honorable Mention (5th Place),  Page - 'Tis the Sea-Sun
Honorable Mention (6th Place), HKS with DPR Construction - Crash Sanding
Annual AIA College Challenge, AIAS PVAMU - Richard Meier - Barcelona I "LIGHT"
Best Team Signage, Browne McGregor Architects - Houston We Have A Sculpture
Best Team T-Shirt, Page - Tis the Sea-Sun
Best Costume, PhiloWilke Partnership - 5th Element
The Sydney LeNoir Public Favorite, ASCE Houston - Bowser's Beach Bash!
Tallest Standing Structure, Kirksey + Metzger - Smurf and Turf
Best Sports, VLK Architects - Pirates of the Superbowl
Best Science Fiction, HKS with DPR Construction - Crash Sanding
Houston-Centric, Gensler + Harvey - Return of the Crawfish!
Kidtastic! LEGO Edition, Perkins + Will / HOAR Construction - The Truth About Legos
Best Traditional Castle, Kirksey + Metzger - Smurf and Turf
Best Architectural Icon, Freese and Nichols, Inc - Mayan Pyramids

See pictures of 2017 Sandcastle winners below and visit Flickr to see ALL sandcastle photos!


AIA Sandcastle Tent Vendors [PDF 104.52 KB]