[ Austin, Texas ]
2006 Honor Award
AIA Austin Design Awards
2008 Merit Award
Custom Home Design Awards
Situated on a two-acre peninsula, the Guest House is surrounded by a natural landscape that includes reed-covered wetlands, which serve as a migratory stop for egrets, cranes and swans. The development of the project utilized a meticulous analysis of the existing vegetation and wild life to implement a ten year plan that will eliminate invasive plants, reintroduce native plants, and restore and increase the existing wetlands.
To limit its ecological impact, the Guest House was conceived with a minimal footprint as a light vertical structure consisting of three floors. The ground floor with its kitchen, living and dining areas is completely open to a surrounding terrace separated only by floor to ceiling glass. This sweeping covered deck appears to float above natural grade with native grasses coming to its edge.
A glass box covered with shutters hovers above the first floor roof. It contains the master bedroom in the second level and two bedrooms in the third. The box is attached to a three-story volume that contains the stair, bathrooms and closets. This volume is defined by a ribbon-like edge that adjusts itself to the needs of the spaces inside. The shutters have adjustable slats and can be fully folded up to accommodate varying light conditions. In addition, the shutters provide protection for the house when it is not occupied. The steel windows of the cube are fully operable to encourage a greater interaction with the natural environment.