With the 30th annual AIA Austin Homes Tour right around the corner (October 15th — 16th), a design inspired weekend of driving around and visiting houses, we thought to reach out to 6 of the 12 featured architects for insights on the homes, the clients, and the process. Did you know the architects, and their teams, will be present in the homes they designed, along with builders and interior designers? Follow along as we talk to these architects and check back next week for extracts of conversations with 6 more architects on the tour.
TOM HURT ARCHITECTURE
“the owners had no interest in renovating”
Photo: Leonid Furmansky. Tom Hurt Architecture.
House located in Barton Hills
“For this house, we were asked to add a series of living, work, play and contemplative spaces to a modest house that the owners had no interest in renovating—the existing 1960’s stone ranch house worked well for them—aside from the fact that they wanted more space and better opportunities to view the expansive greenbelt which the house abutted. With a construction budget of $300,000 we were able to build them a kind of tower of 6 new levels, all within 1100 square feet, with the spaces they need, with no added plumbing or expensive finishes or systems. We made the tower and new intervention consciously an artifact of this time extending up from the 1960’s house.”
ERIC RAUSER, RAUSER DESIGN
“client wants to simplify life and spend more time volunteering”
Photo: Leonid Furmanksy. Rauser Design.
House located in Govalle.
“This client told us that he had recently made an effort to simplify his life. He said, ‘I would rather spend my extra time and money donating and volunteering rather than maintaining a monument to myself.’ Therefore we were interested in the concept of planning for future obsolescence of the equipment in the home, and cleverly laying out all the HVAC and mechanical so it can be easily retrieved and maintained. All the external materials are metal and only the decks are wood and the house is constructed with a 500-year wall, The house is located around heritage pecan trees and it was important to maintain scale in this environment.”
THOMAS TORNBJERG, TORNBJERG DESIGNS
“modernism isn’t so much an aesthetic choice but a function of the time in which we live.”
Photo: Leonid Furmansky. Tornbjerg Designs.
House located in Highland Park West.
“The focus for the house was on smart spaces that boost efficiency. Our client, Laura Britt of Laura Britt Design, also wanted flexibility in the space. The family desired a clean uncluttered interior, well-lit, light and bright, and a den and guest room to be both a part of family life and to be separate and secluded. This house was a four-year path of initial remodel and addition to a new build, the importance being to frame the background for the way the family lives.”
NICK DEAVER ARCHITECTS
“allowing an architect to submit a home for a home tour is a mark of respect and a gesture of thanks for the architect”
Photo: Leonid Furmansky. Architect: Nick Deaver.
House located in Travis Heights
“This is the second home we have done for these clients. One can’t ask for better clients than those who are, or who become, patrons of architecture. Most of us don’t know how to make music but that does not prevent us from appreciating it. When clients open up to ideas, to themselves, then we have a chance to connect them in a material way and at the same time demystify the profession and the tools.”
MCKINNEY YORK ARCHITECTS
“look closely to see the elegance of where the ceilings never quite touch the interior walls and seem to float”
Photo: Leonid Furmansky. McKinney York Architects.
House located in Highland Park West
“Our clients wanted to move back to Austin from living elsewhere but they did not want to tear down a home. The property they selected backs onto a conservation area so it was important to preserve the views and the trees and to recognize the desire for the trees to appear from the lawn as sculpture. Western views often require screening but, in this case, the house was designed to avoid the need for window coverings. Clerestory windows permit views to the treetops.”
RICK & CINDY BLACK ARCHITECTS
“as a husband and wife architecture team, our values are united and if we disagreed on anything we just needed to keep trying”
Photo: Leonid Furmansky. Rick & Cindy Black Architects.
House located in North Loop
“Our house could not be complex because we need control over the budget and the construction. We only have things in the home that we really love and use because we do not have an attic or storage. The site was challenging to size and shape. Over the years we’ve tried different paint colors and it’s interesting to see those that work well on wood. Our house does not contain any sheetrock.”