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W Dock

W Dock


In its simplicity and materiality, the W Dock takes a rather banal program and elevates it to something else. It’s a dock, it’s a space to be on, it’s a canopy, it’s also this really iconic image.
— Roberto de Leon, FAIA


Perched in the shallow waters of Lake Austin like the egrets that frequent the lakeshore, this delicate project seeks to answer the question: what is the minimum number of elements needed to create a boat dock that is both structurally and aesthetically elegant? The answer is a light, economical structure that is greater than the sum of its parts.

The primary elements of the boat dock are the triangular tube steel frames and horizontal decks. Coming to a point at the water’s surface, the reedy triangular frames reduce the number of support piles required while creating the sensation that the dock is balanced “just so”. The frames are cross-braced by the thin piers, deck, and roof. Viewed from farther inland, the slender columns almost disappear, and the boat dock appears as a series of floating planes—thus preserving views through the structure. At the upper level, the deck and roof planes frame a line of wooded cliffs across the water while catching breezes and providing shade.

The project’s stripped-down form meant that many decisions were in effect already made for the designers. Incorporating functional elements such as lights and speakers became a matter of finding the least intrusive solutions in order to preserve the integrity of the essential parti. Emphasis was placed on details like the angled handrails and diving gate, which lends an air of playfulness to a hot summer day.


W Dock

Austin, Texas

New Construction

Winner, Architecture MasterPrize
Design Award, Texas Society of Architects

Design Award, AIA Austin