San Antonio Architecture Firm Wins National Award for Austin's Ellsworth Kelly Art Installation


  • Photo courtesy of Overland Partners
San Antonio architectural firm Overland Partners has won the Design-Built Institute of America's Merit Award in the Civic/Assembly category for its role in the installation Austin, which is located at the Blanton Museum of Art on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Austin was the last free-standing piece by American artist Ellsworth Kelly, who worked with Overland Partners and contributors from around the globe to bring his design to life. Despite opening a mere two years ago, Austin has become an icon to the city that shares its name.

A Merit Award winner, Austin is now a finalist for the National Award of Excellence and Project of the Year, for which the winner will be announced Thursday, October 29.

  • Photo courtesy of Overland Partners
Kelly first conceptualized Austin in 1986, inspired by the structures he encountered while studying art in Paris. Known for its prior build on UT's campus with the artist James Turrell, Overland Partners was brought onboard as the design-build team for Kelly's work, alongside Linbeck Group.

Kelly oversaw the collaboration of contributors from around the world — including stained glass artists, engineers and museum staff — and signed off on every aesthetic detail from his home in upstate New York. Austin was Kelly's first and only architectural work.

Kelly died in 2015 at the age of 92, a mere one week after signing the final documents for the work. The construction to bring Austin to life began two months later.

Since the building's opening in 2018, over 200,000 people have visited Austin as a part of the Blanton's permanent collection, according to Overland Partners.

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