What is the AIA Homes Tour, and Why is it Important?
Fairfield House, Patterson Heights, Austin, Texas.
The AIA Austin Homes Tour is a nationally renowned event showcasing new and renovated homes designed by Austin-based architects. The tour is a once-a-year opportunity for local design enthusiasts to experience (in person) some of the most compelling homes in the Austin area.
The homes are hand-picked by a panel of discerning judges, all of whom represent the who’s who of the Austin design world. Chief among the criteria for selection are design excellence, ingenuity and inventiveness, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability-focused design. In order to be considered for the tour, architects must submit a robust application package demonstrating the home’s satisfaction of the ten principles of Design Excellence as defined by the AIA. This set of principles seeks to define “good design” in the 21st century and, more importantly, guide 21st century designers toward creating projects that promote a “zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment.” Architects must provide measurable proof of how a home meets or exceeds specific metrics in each of ten categories: integration, equitable communities, ecosystems, water, economy, energy, well-being, resources, change, and discovery. By virtue of its inclusion on a Homes Tour, a selected project has successfully exhibited (at least in part) progress toward fulfillment of these markers.
The Homes Tour typically takes place in October. Registrants are invited to walk the grounds of selected homes and are granted unprecedented access to each site as well as the opportunity to engage with the design team who are on site to answer burning questions. In light of the pandemic, the Homes Tour has gone virtual: they’ve curated a robust online experience that includes exclusive video content, professional photographs, live and recorded Q&A sessions with each architect, and a state-of-the-art 360-degree virtual walkthrough. Online access has expanded the reach of the Austin tour globally, allowing national and international audiences to participate and soak in the talents of our Austin architects.
Over the years, Webber + Studio has had several projects on the tour including our Fairfield House, Chimney Corners, Shoal Creek, Brady Lane, Mount Bonnell, Columbus Street, North Tumbleweed, and Toyath projects. Keep an eye on our blog, Instagram feed, or on the AIA Austin Homes Tour website for news on our next Homes Tour entrant.