Shade is a civic resource that should be shared by all.

Shade is an essential component of public health. It encourages people to walk and leave their car behind. Access to shade for the vulnerable in our society – children, outdoor workers, the elderly and the homeless – is critical, quite literally the difference between life and death.
Shade impacts the economic health of cities. Predictions estimate that daily temperatures will rise two-to-three degrees by 2050. Expanding shade-giving infrastructure is a tool that will help cities reduce thermal load by up to 50%.

Everyone needs and deserves access to shade.


This competition challenges design teams to identify an artistic and practical concept for a “Shade Structure” that can be implemented by the City of San Antonio. We seek a solution that is build-able, and that addresses innovation, sun shading, night-time lighting and all code issues related to right of way for pedestrians, and vehicles, including emergency vehicles.

The proposed Shade Structure should offer a clear, unique, exciting, memorable and positive solution. The Shade Structure should be creative and evocative of the spirit and culture of the City of San Antonio.


The competition is open to designs teams that include a registered Texas architect.


The winning entry will receive a $10,000 prize. Second and third place will receive $3,500 and $1,500 respectively. Selection as a competition winner is not a guarantee that the Centro will enter into a contract with the winners for professional design services, or that the winning entries will be constructed. Any awarded design or construction contract shall be pursuant to Centro’s or the City of San Antonio’s (COSA) required process for contracting with design consultants.


March 3
Registration Opens
July 23Extended Registration Deadline
July 30Mandatory Virtual Pre-Submittal Meeting
Sept 10Submittals Due
Sept 18Community Comment at Parking Day event
Sept 22Virtual Town Hall hosted by Centro with AIA San Antonio and District 1
Sept 25Jury of Submittals


The Shade Structure should provide at least 80% shade coverage to sidewalks and corners to ensure a more comfortable pedestrian experience, especially during the summer and rain events. Further, the Shade Structure should encourage active sidewalks and street level business activity, superior pedestrian connectivity, and engaging public spaces.

There are no specific requirements governing the form or materials of this structure. The goal is to give entrants the maximum amount of flexibility and creativity in their designs. Entrants should be mindful that the Shade Structures will be located in prominent public areas, where they will be subject to weather, public contact and possible vandalism, with a limited ability to control these elements.

The competition seeks a modular, scalable solution, rendered in one location, but designed to fit multiple locations. The solution should be responsive to the variable conditions (sidewalks, bridges, trees, etc.) presented in the three sites.


The competition offers three sites in need of shading solutions:

  • Market/Dolorosa Street across from the Westin Hotel (long stretch on the garage side/north side of the street) from Navarro continuing past St. Mary’s (Drury hotel) to Main Plaza
  • Flores St at Commerce St. (along old Frost parking garage)
  • River bridge on Houston St. (near Valencia Hotel)


After the competition, the final design and implementation of the Shade Structure budget cannot exceed $750,000. Assuming that the design is modular, each module must not exceed $200,000 on average to implement.


The Shade Structure may be any shape desired as long as the structure complies with the stated dimensions. No projections beyond 4” unless below 27” or above 80” to comply with ADA requirements.


There are no restrictions on material usage; however, all materials must be non-hazardous and there can be no sharp edges or other elements that would create a safety hazard. The Shade Structure is intended to have a significant lifespan. Materials should be selected with this in mind.


The Shade Structure materials and information will be accessible by all persons of all physical abilities, in accordance with ADA guidelines.


The entrant should review the criteria below and incorporate these actions into their Shade Structure as appropriate.

  • Freestanding shade structure preferred. If proposed design attaches to buildings or other existing infrastructure, deliverable must identify exactly where and how attachment will occur.
  • Deliverable should be buildable within City of San Antonio ordinances.
  • Design should accommodate emergency vehicle needs, as well as any known events in the Site (see below for Site Description).
  • In effort to make design scalable, deliverable should be replicable and/or modular.
  • Accommodate existing trees and infrastructure, as applicable
  • Maintain and enhance existing streetscape standards to promote continuity of streetscape treatments
  • Develop opportunities to support jogging, biking, and scooters utilizing the public realm
  • Develop strong pedestrian connections from VIA stations and other centers of activity
  • Focus on enhanced pedestrian street amenities on primary and secondary streets
  • Maintain existing block patterns, including alleys, to promote direct pedestrian access from place to place
  • Encourage and, preferably enhance, continuous storefront activity on primary and secondary pedestrian streets
  • Provide a cool gateway to downtown
  • Develop pedestrian shelters or oasis at unshaded street crossings
  • Incorporate trees


The entry fee per submittal is $175.

If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, please check the hardship box and indicate the factors affecting your circumstance. Each case will be considered individually for a 50% – 100% fee waiver.


Entries are due September 1, 2020 by 4 PM CT and must be entered in digital format via Submittable online platform. JPEG file should be no larger than 10 mb in size.


Your solution will be judged on

  • Creativity
  • Practicality and feasibility
  • Innovation in design or materials
  • Aesthetics
  • Cultural and brand connection to San Antonio


Materials to be uploaded to competition portal. Upon registration, a link to submit your presentation will be provided.

Design Team Information

Must include:
  • Project Title
  • Team/Firm Name
  • Team Member Contact Information, including name. physical address, e-mail, and cell phone for each member of the team.

Concept Narrative*

Narrative may not exceed 750 words.

30” x 42” Presentation JPeg*

All entries will be showcased at a VIRTUAL public open house. Please provide in landscape format all of the following:

  • Site Plan:
    -ONE (1) Site Plan, showing full extent of site, with Shade Structure clearly denoted.
  • Elevations/Sections:
    -Elevations and sections through shade structure
  • Context Illustrations:
    -Renderings showing the solution in context with the site you selected and how the site solution relates to adjacent structures.
    -At least one rendering or elevation that shows what is existing and what is proposed

*NOTE: No identifying information of any kind (team, firm or individual names, or logos) may be included on the Project Narrative or Presentation JPEG, or the submission will automatically be disqualified.

Competition Jurors

Gopinath Alkalkotkar, AIA
City Architect
City of San Antonio

Analy Diego, RID, IIDA
Interior Designer,
Graphic Artist

Lori Houston
Assistant City Manager
City of San Antonio

Miró Rivera Architects

Reiley Robinson
Art Pace


Questions about this competition should be addressed to



© Copyright - AIA San Antonio