The design of a house in Austin, Texas for a couple with 5 children was an opportunity to explore the favorable climate and integration of indoor and outdoor living. Uniquely situated on a limestone bluff within a suburban development, the house is organized around a central courtyard to provide an outdoor gathering space for the family and their many visitors, taking advantage of the favorable climate for much of the year. Along the rear of the site, an electrical easement has protected a stand of Live Oak trees for over 40 years. In the front yard an ash tree provides welcome shade from the south. The limestone bluff is 8 feet higher than the street, making the front yard quiet private and offering views over the adjacent houses.
Large glass walls are used to connect the interior gathering spaces to the front courtyard and back yard. In order to maintain the visual connections between inside and out while minimizing solar heat gain in the summer, computer modelling was used to design roof overhangs that protect the interiors from direct sun from May through September.
The double height living room has two levels of roof to protect from the southern sun. The upper level corridor, which enjoys views over Austin, faces due west. In order to prevent solar gain, seven rolling shutters provide sun control during the hottest times of the summer months while allowing dappled light through to animate the hallway. In the mornings and all winter long, the shutters can be left open to enjoy the natural daylight. The rolling shutters are formed from perforated aluminum panels inspired by moon phase charts. The perforations are not removed but bent up to form a light reflecting louver for each opening. The extensive slope roofs are used to collect rainwater in a 3,000 gallon underground cistern and used to irrigate to heavily planted site. A series of terraced planters act as rain gardens, preventing run off from the steep front slope of the yard and re-charging the Edwards Aquifer.
Currently Under Construction
PROJECT TEAM: Timothy Bade, Jane Stageberg, Martin Cox, Rob Bundy, Eimear Arthur