As members of the media, we often get access to press kits. In years past, this typically translated to exquisitely-branded portfolios filled with reams of carefully-curated, glossy-finished papers and fold-outs. But today, press kits have mostly gone all-digital, and those portfolios have been replaced by Dropbox shares and Box folders populated with Word documents, PDFs, and JPEGs. In our way of thinking, it’s just not the same viewing these packages of info on our mobile screens.
Surely, there must be creative firms still practicing the seemingly-long-lost art of exquisitely crafting, printing, and moreover—packaging—compelling kits of information for their clients. Which was exactly what we were thinking when we reached into our mailbox and opened a parcel from the Austin, Texas, chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
You see, this was not a press kit at all, but simply the package of information that goes to each registered ticket holder for the AIA Austin Homes Tour 2016.
Packaging, it seems, tells the tale here in more ways than one. AIA Austin always does a nice job on their guidebook, but for this 30th anniversary edition of the event, they have outdone themselves with an exquisite package that is graced with a distinctive flavor of tour branding and visual identity—the creative handiwork of Austin-based FÖDA Studio. Tucked into a sculptured and corrugated cardboard framework of sorts are a 40-page guidebook and the Fall 2016 issue of Austin Home magazine, gathered and secured with a stout belly band. And as any of the architects represented by homes on the tour will likely tell you, exquisite packaging of site, design, and client requirements are what residential architecture is all about.
As the matte-finished, printed guidebook so aptly describes, “… the tour represents a variety of different topographies, budgets, and surroundings—all uniquely expressive of the clients that now call the space their home.” Yes, these homes are much more than architectural exercises—they are living, breathing, and exemplary dwellings occupied by their owners.
An even dozen Austin-based architectural firms will be participating in this 2016 tour, which runs on October 15 and 16. The firms showcasing homes during the event include:
What better way to experience such a compelling range of architect-designed residences than a well-choreographed home tour? As you begin to indulge, you are sure to appreciate the packaging prowess so evidently on display in both the tour guide kit and the dwellings themselves.
And for those of you unable to attend due to geographic, time, or other constraints, we will share more details on some of these beautifully-architected homes in future posts. So check back for more.
Tom Kolnowski is the Chief Content Officer & Founder of Digitized House Media, LLC, the publisher of Digitized House | Guide to the Connected Home. When he isn’t writing about smart home technology, sustainability, and high-performance architecture, you’ll find him exploring faraway destinations with his family.