The Austin community has recognized the lasting impact of TENTSION’s thoughtful design

AUSTIN, TEXAS – May 16, 2019 – Perkins+Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, has been honored with an Award of Excellence by the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin) for it’s light-based, site-specific art installation,  TENTSION.

Selected from among 128 submissions in this year’s awards program, the project stood out for its holistic approach to design, considering key details such as location and audience experience. Perkins+Will’s Austin-based studio derived inspiration for TENTSION from its temporary spot on Waller Creek, a location known to be a place of refuge for many of the city’s homeless citizens. Originally created for Creek Show, presented annually by the Waller Creek Conservancy, the installation was showcased among six other art exhibits for a week this past November.

“It’s an honor to witness the TENTSION message garner such high recognition beyond its original installation—especially from such an esteemed awards program,” says Chet Morgan, the installation’s lead designer at Perkins+Will. “We were thrilled with how the Austin community responded to TENTSION first-hand back in November.  It’s a memorable project for our team given its unique design and local impact.”

For TENTSION, the design team created a compelling piece of temporary art that would serve a useful purpose long after the exhibition had ended. Made up of over 100 camping tents bound together to create grouped forms, TENTSION was designed to ultimately be deconstructed and donated to local organizations that serve those in need, such as Integral Care, Trinity Center, and Path. TENTSION added a new dimension to the light show program through its profound statement about the plight of homelessness in the Austin community.

“We’re so proud to see the firm recognized by its peers for their recent AIA award win. The team’s vision, creativity, adaptability, leadership and just downright elbow grease and determination were inspiring to us, and the results speak for themselves,” says Michael Brack, President at Datum Engineers—a firm that supported the design and construction of the installation. Patriot Erectors also contributed to the project’s planning and development.

On May 9, 2019, AIA Austin gathered members, allied members, community leaders, and architecture enthusiasts at Fair Market to celebrate exceptional design and those leading the charge to improve Austin’s built environment. TENTSION was one of five projects that received an Award of Excellence.