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Lake Austin Boat Dock

Lake Austin Boat Dock


I think it’s a fantastic approach, very elegant, and well-integrated in its place. The material choice is very interesting in how the wood integrates with the trees. It’s a very extraordinary project.
— Rodolfo Machado, FAIA


The Lake Austin Boat Dock is located at the base of a heavily wooded bluff on a lake. This remarkable site provided the client with an opportunity for a unique retreat and functional boat dock nestled into the natural shoreline of the lake.

The structural response is light and dynamic; a structure that appears to float, belonging more with the boats in the lake than with the houses around it. The boat dock is accessible only by boat or tram, informing the decision to use durable, low-maintenance materials which could be easily transported to the site. Three elements were used to accomplish these goals:

The box consists of a structural frame of steel I-beams and tube columns that contains the two slips and a closet. The top is occupied by a large wood deck with an extension towards the hill with built-in benches and table. A path from the upper deck leads to a tram to the house above

The screen consists of 3.5” x 1.5” steel tubes spaced 1.5” apart. Measuring 52ft x 13ft, this latticed wall screens the interior from the lake while establishing a plane that continues the one defined by the trees at the shore line.

The canopy is a tensile structure with porous fabric providing shade to the upper deck. It is conceived independently of the box and creates a dynamic contrast to it. Its white stretched fabric and mast, tensioning cables and stainless steel gear are inspired by the sailboats on the lake.


Lake Austin Boat Dock

Austin, Texas

New Construction

Honor Award, AIA Austin
Honor Award, AIA New York City
American Architecture Award, The Chicago Athenaeum
Award of Excellence, AIA New York State
Grand Awards, Custom Home Design Awards
Merit Award, IDEAS² Awards
Design Award, Texas Society of Architects