Tag: gabions

Project

East Austin Residence

This house weaves green building and contemporary design into the context of its Austin, Texas neighborhood -- on a budget.

It was conceived as a framing system for the lives of those within, using a variety of implicit framing devices at different scales to create subtly distinct moments that can be experienced separately or simultaneously.

The clients, a young professional couple with a baby, were most interested in an open, flexible home in which to start their family and a new phase in life. They love to be surrounded by mementos of their life together; cards, gifts, art objects, and books filled every available surface in their old apartment.

The house holds and displays records of the lives within it through a continuous shelving system which simultaneously shapes larger spaces into zones for living. In this way the house serves as an archive, enriching one’s experience of everyday life and its intimate moments with personalized framed settings. Because one is always moving through these not-completely defined spaces, one’s understanding of the house is layered with a variety of impressions that may evolve from day to day and throughout the years spent here.

At the exterior, a metallic fascia runs along the edges of the floors and roof, clearly outlining the planes that horizontally frame the inhabitable space of the house. These planes break from one another to define major zones of the house: the primary entry, main living level, and major public/private spaces.

The facade materials also serve to create distinct zones even before one enters the house. The outermost walls are standing seam metal, reading like a hard exterior shell through which warm cedar-framed windows are extruded for shading purposes. The north and south facades, recessed within deep overhangs, are yellow pine, setting the tone for a softer, more intimate atmosphere on the front and back porches.

These framing devices define thresholds as open moments of transition from one type of environment to another. Spaces are not finite; slipping, indirect connections allow movement from one to another. This strategy holds one’s focus foregrounded in the immediate surroundings but simultaneously aware of their greater context.

Interested in keeping the material palette simple yet dynamic, we custom-built many details into the house. This allowed us to make the most of each piece and the conservative square footage.

Every countertop is custom-poured concrete. We designed integral sinks into the bathroom counters, which read as a singular weighty objects that offer contrast to the lighter wood elsewhere.

 

In the master bathroom, polycarbonate boxes serve as open medicine cabinets, letting light flow through the bathroom even into the secluded toilet room.

 

 

Blog entry

Garden St Landscape

The landscape finished a while back, but we haven't had much time to blog. we also recently finished the cascading porch in the back.

Blog entry

Landscape Begins (finally)

We took a little bit of a break after finishing the house to decompress and figure out what exactly to do with the landscape. Now things are going strong again and the yard will get finished up very quickly with the help of American Trees Landscaping and some great designers. We'd like to thank Jennifer Orr and Megumi Aihara for all of their great design advice and suggestions and especially Gena Wirth for taking our design concept to another level and designing a great landscape for this house.

The great thing is we are re-using almost all of the landscape materials we harvested from the site when we originally cleared it.

We had a lot... check out our first post in January to see what the site previously looked like. First steps: we re-used the pavers to create a patio in the backyard.

We built our own custom gabions using metal panel fencing and then started to fill them with the concrete cylinders and general debris. (we'll reorganize the contents a bit later). The gabions are great because they will help slow down water runoff and soil erosion on the sloping site and serve as benches.

In addition to re-using all of the site materials, creating a landscape that was low maintenance and durable in the austin environment is of critical importance to us. So, we are using a lot of low maintenance native plants, only a small planted area of low maintenance grass, and lots of gravel.

More to come in the next few days.

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