VLK Designs 'Houston Traffic? It's a Trap!' at 2016 AIA Sandcastle Competition

Galveston, Texas ' Last weekend, VLK Architects participated in the 2016 AIA Sandcastle Competition on East Beach in Galveston. Their theme, 'Houston Traffic? It's a Trap!' was submitted in the 'Best Meme' category of the competition, playing on two infamous scenes in Return of the Jedi, and poking fun at the traffic that seems to always block every major roadway in Houston. People from all over the Houston and Galveston areas come to check out the different sandcastles, and this year, over 60 different firms in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry competed for the famous 'golden bucket award' which denotes first place over-all.

The preparation for the Sandcastle Competition starts early with the discussion of theme ideas, form building, and the assignment of responsibilities. The amount of team work required is tremendous. In addition to the planning and preparation that normally goes into this annual event, the date for the competition was rescheduled this year due to flooding. This meant that food and supplies had to be purchased twice, and the schedule had to be adjusted.

'This was a rescheduled event due to the flooding Brazoria & Galveston County took on during the original date in June, so thank you for everyone that adjusted their schedules to participate,' said Brad Ewing, VLK Project Designer.

The day of competition consists of participants arriving to East Beach at 6:30am to their designated tent with a fresh mound of sand ready for use. Each team is responsible for bringing their own tools, water pump, and buckets to properly construct their sandcastle. The public starts arriving around 9am and building starts at 10. Participants are given 5 total hours to build and carve their sandcastles and when the 3 o'clock rolls around, construction stops and judging begins. Regardless of the winners, every firm who participates in the Sandcastle Competition leaves with high spirits after a fun day in the sun with their coworkers.


'On build day, we had an awesome group who moved the most sand than I've ever seen moved in all the years we have participated in Sandcastle, and we did it in record time,' said Ewing. 'We had crowds smiling as they passed by our 'Houston Traffic - It's A Trap!' sculpture. We broke into several teams to carve out highway signs, a highway with cars, a Saralacc monster, a GPS with ETA, sand letters, and an Admiral Ackbar.'

'I wanted to congratulate everyone who joined us for another successful AIA Sandcastle event,' said Ewing. 'From building formwork, cutting out foam stencil designs, brainstorming concepts, and participating in planning meetings, our team did a lot of work before the event to make sure things went smoothly. Great job team!'