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TX ASLA Design Awards Archive
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BEGINNINGS

In the late 1980's, the outgoing Texas Chapter President Tom Woodfin wondered about the fate of award submissions for the annual Design Awards Competition held by the chapter. There seemed to be a variable fate for the award submissions - a few were returned to the submitting firms while some were simply left in a box with that year's Jury Chair. Since these represented the best work done by Texas landscape architects, Woodfin decided to begin an archive of the winners at Texas A&M, thinking that there would be educational value in using the winners as case studies in landscape design studios.

Succinct in format, each submission consisted of a two-page project description outlining the role of the landscape architect as well as unusual conditions and solutions confronted in the project. Up to ten slides were included and some accompanying explanatory material such as black and white photographs, copies of documents in the case of master plans, and sometimes full scale drawings.

Gathering the material was not simple - some years' submissions were not still together, other years were gone except for a list of the winners. Since the mid-1990's however each year's submissions have been handed over from the jury chair to Professor Woodfin and are catalogued into the archive. Since 1997 Taner R. Ozdil, Ph.D student in Urban and Regional Science, has been working as the research assistant and project manager on the archive. Taner organized and coordinated the students who have provided most of the labor to digitize the award winners. Without his efforts this archive would still be just file drawers full of folders…  

THE DREAM

For a decade the dream of Professor Woodfin was to make these projects available to students, professionals and the public via the World Wide Web. Rapid advances in hardware and software have made this possible to accomplish recently. The archive now contains over 230 projects judged as the best between 1986 and 1999. In 1998 scanning of text, slides and documents began and the archive website currently has over 60 projects available for viewing. The decision was made to begin from the most current years and work back in time as opportunity and funding made it possible.

All of the projects given awards since 1986 have been catalogued in a Microsoft ACCESS database that can be queried on-line as to:

Project Type
Professional Firm
Project Location
Type of Award
Year of Award

Funding for equipment and to pay assistants has been obtained through the Texas Chapter of ASLA, the Electronic Learning Incentives Program (ELIP) at Texas A&M University, and the Texas A&M Honors Program.

The archive now contains 361 award-winning projects judged as the best between 1986 and 2006. What  began in a large file cabinet had by the mid-1990’s  outgrown its physical space and was increasingly difficult to manage. The dream was to make the best of Texas landscape architectural design and planning available to students, professionals and the public via the World Wide Web.  Advances in hardware and software and clever utilization of available student labor made this possible beginning in 1997. At present 250 projects are viewable via the website: http://research.arch.tamu.edu/aslatx/.  Scanning started with the most current years and earlier years are added as opportunity and time allow.

The original slides were catalogued in an archival slide storage unit within the College of Architecture’s technical library.  The accompanying documents for each project are organized in binders by year. This permits faculty, students and visitors to study the documentation for each project in a supervised setting similar to any library archive collection.  Most recently a "Bio” or biography function was added to the website to show basic information for each winner regardless of whether the project’s illustrative slides and project description were yet web-viewable.   Links from the archive to individual firm websites is on-going.  Please take a look at Quick Statistics to see the latest numbers about the archive.  


TECHNICAL PROCESS

For those interested in the technical process involved in getting hardcopy files into digital format, please contact either Tom Woodfin at or Taner R.Ozdil at, or send an e-mail to the archive address: We will be pleased to assist or provide examples from our own experience in inputting slides, text and hardcopy and establishing the archive database and formats.