The Guest House, a sure but respectful object in the landscape, affords occupants an opportunity to reflect on the beauty of their natural surroundings. Located on a two-acre peninsula, the structure is surrounded by a landscape that includes reed-covered wetlands, which serve as a migratory stop for egrets, cranes, and swans.
The beauty of the wetland environment informs many aspects of the project beginning with the access to the peninsula from the main house. The procession uses a light pedestrian bridge inspired by the reeds that surround the site; its raw construction heightens the experience and fosters a certain sense of adventure when entering into this more wild and natural world.
To limit its ecological impact, the Guest House was conceived as a light vertical structure consisting of three floors with a minimal footprint. The ground floor—housing the kitchen, living, and dining areas—is separated from a surrounding terrace only by floor-to-ceiling glass. The sweeping covered deck appears to float above natural grade, with native grasses coming to its edge.
A glass box covered with adjustable shutters hovers above the first floor roof; it contains the master bedroom on the second level and two rooms on the third. The shutters can be folded up to accommodate varying light conditions, and also 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. The shuttered box is attached to a three-story space 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 development of the project utilized a meticulous analysis of the existing vegetation and wildlife to implement a 10-year plan that will eliminate invasive plants, reintroduce native plants, and restore and increase the existing wetlands.
Merit Award, Custom Home Design Awards
Honor Award, AIA Austin