Posts

Blank Canvas

Working with an architect for the first time, Dr. Maggie Hart and Patrick Woodson began their journey with an inspired vision for an irresistible but challenging site in West Austin. Their ideal house was perfectly illustrated in a design publication — a project by Dallas-based Malone Maxwell Borson Architects (MMB). Magazine in hand, the couple began their search for an architect who could bring this family of five closer to their vision.  Nervously, Maggie decided to call Michael Malone, AIA, the founding principal of MMB. Surprised to find Malone fielding his own phone calls, the couple was reassured by his…

Campsite Rules

For several years now, real estate developers out for a quick buck have been buying up single-family and duplex homes in central Austin, demolishing them, and erecting code-compliant structures on the lots that look like big houses from the outside but are in fact apartment buildings housing as many as six un-related adults. Rooms in these cheaply made and unattractive structures go for around $1,000 per month, which, when all is tallied, amounts to a tidy profit for the slumlord. For neighbors, however, these Trojan Horses are real nuisances, creating parking, trash, and noise issues, not to mention corrupting the…

Out of the Shadows

"Imagine you don’t have a home. Just think about what it would be like. I don’t think most of us truly understand what that means. For formerly homeless individuals, the simple act of turning the lock on their front door is life-altering,” says Brent A. Brown, AIA. It is that sense of security and empowerment that The Cottages at Hickory Crossing aims to provide for 50 of Dallas’ chronic cases of homelessness. Brown, the founder of buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, along with developer John Greenan of Central Dallas CDC, set out six years ago to tackle the problem through a variation on the…

Domestic Wolf

Most custom homes are eccentric in one fashion or another, tailored as they are to one person’s or one family’s specific requirements. Casa Lobo, a new house designed by Content Architecture in Houston’s East End, takes that notion to the extreme.  The owner, Erick Calderon, met the architects — Jesse Hager, AIA, and Heather Rowell, Assoc. AIA — through his tile importing company, La Nova. They became friendly, and when Calderon purchased a vacant lot off of Navigation Boulevard just east of downtown, where he planned to build his ideal abode, he called on Content.  Tile importing is his business,…

Pendleton Farms

In a second-floor bedroom of Pendleton Farm hangs a solitary painting. It depicts a bucolic scene: a meandering road, crops in season, livestock, a pond, and a white clapboard farmhouse. That landscape painting, commissioned by Pendleton Farm owners in the early 1980s, is unchanged today save for the presence of the new farmhouse designed by Tim Cuppett, AIA. So unaltered is the scene that one subcontractor had difficulty finding the job site though he was only yards from the new structure. From where he stood, all he could see was “some old farmhouse.”  While many architects would hesitate to repeat…

CCR1 Residence

Nothing prepares you for the CCR1 Residence. Cedar Creek Lake, located about 55 miles southeast of Dallas, is well-known for its vacation homes and casual atmosphere. So it was no surprise for Paul Field, Assoc. AIA, and Braxton Werner, AIA, partners at Wernerfield Architects, to receive a design brief asking simply for a weekend retreat with “four bedrooms and a porch.” The surprise is what Wernerfield made of that concise design brief. Set in a laid-back neighborhood in Trinidad, Tex., CCR1 blends in with the bungalows and modest structures nearby. From the street, it’s easy to miss the house, even…

Project ArchiTX: Castano House

Craig McMahon Architects' renovation and new addition to a San Antonio home responds to the South Texas climate and employs a simple materials palette to achieve continuity. Project Castano House, San Antonio  Architect Craig McMahon Architects Photographers Dror Baldinger and Mark Menjivar Craig McMahon Architects’ Castano House is a subtle statement in site efficiency and maximizing an enjoyable aspect of the South Texas climate: its Gulf Coast breeze. The San Antonio-based architect approached the renovation and new addition to the home with a pared-down philosophy regarding space and materials. The original stucco finish was stripped from the existing house, exposing the concrete structure,…

Subtle Layers

Once Rick and Cynthia Torcasso found this property and made the commitment to move from Dallas to Santa Fe, they went scouting for an architect who shared their interest in fitting a house into the dominant landscape. Conversations with Lawrence Speck, FAIA, principal at Page (formerly PageSoutherlandPage), convinced them that they had found a kindred soul. The ensuing design and construction process is a saga of high collaboration between owner, designers, craftsmen, and artist driven by the goal of producing a refined dwelling that both blends with its setting and allows its inhabitants to fully experience the ever-changing panorama of sky, mountain,…

Invisible Aquatics

The Cascading Creek House sits at the end of a cul-de-sac with its eponymous waterway beyond. Standing at the top of the sloped site, Thomas Bercy of Bercy Chen Studio explained that because of its steep topography, the triangular property receives a great deal of runoff. This water is channeled through large drains in the curvy driveway and along a rocky passage on the north side of the house. Even in its site strategy, the project uses water management to explore the relationship between tech-nology and architecture.  The house, opening to the south, consists of two bars set at an angle to each other…

The Boatmakers’ Craft

Port Townsend, Wash., is about as far from Dallas as you can get in the U.S., both literally and figuratively. With a population of around 9,000, the city is located at the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, about 40 miles northwest of Seattle. It’s surrounded by water on three sides and is known for its Victorian buildings, boat-building industry, and vibrant arts scene. It seems an unlikely place for a Texas couple and their Texan architect-of-choice to end up building a house, but that’s exactly what happened when Dallas-based Sally Warren and Jeff Jackson fell in love with Port…