The farmHOUSE design is a revisiting of an earlier project that only got through the schematic design phase. It did however always resonate and is being ressurected for a proposed site in East Austin. Perfectly structured for the south facing 65'x 200' lot, it is composed of a simple 16'x 120' bar that houses 2 bedrooms, a shared bath, living, dining, and kitchen, a covered dogtrot dining porch and the separate master suite.
Concrete block screen walls protect an adjacent "farmyard" for pets, gardens, chickens, and outdoor entertainment, as well as providing "defensible" space in a relatively run-down neighbourhod. Provisions for sliding screens and shutters (not shown) will allow for the home to be locked up tight for extended periods of inoccupation.
4' south facing overhangs provide a shaded walkway from the streetside parking area. The main entry to the compound is through the dog-trot dividing the public spaces from the master bedroom suite. This same dog-trot provides a protected outdoor area for dining and entertainment on a cantilevered extension of the interior kitchen counterspace.
The ample counterspace also has an integrated dining area that mirrors the exterior dining area and provides for easy entertaining with direct access to the outside and the connected covered dog-trot dining porch. A graphically wall-papered entertainment nook anchors the living area and provides a space for the flatscreen TV and cantilevered walnut credenza to house the HiFi and associated AV equipment. Tiled backsplashes in the kitchen, carrera marble counters and open shelving celebrate the love of cooking with a mix of industrial and "luxury" materials.
10' ceilings with long north facing clerestories offer up gallery like lighting and wallspace in the living area for the display of art and sculpture, allowing the simple space to serve as a neutral backdrop for the colour of the inhabitants and their things.
We've been working on another compact design for a Central City Austin backyard. This casita is a two story, 2 bedroom, 2 bath compact accessory dwelling that meets the City of Austin development standards and would be an easy stick build or prefab (modular, panelized, or SIP) for most any city or countryside site.
Entering into the kitchen end of a very compact "great room" (kitchen, island/dining, and living room) one can immediately proceed past the living room and the woodclad downstairs bathroom into the small bedroom, or climb the stairs conveniently housed in the clerestory-lit stair saddlebag to enter the upstairs master suite and it's attached covered porch.
The upstairs suite is fitted with a modest walk-in closet, and a clerstory-lit master bath, with tiled tub and separate shower surround. The master bedroom has views out an 8'x8' slidng door onto the 8'x14' covered second floor porch and a countervailing view out a similarly sized composition of operable and fixed windows in the adjacent wall.
Large floor to ceiling and wall to wall sliders (a nice trick to make tight rooms seem more spacious) allow easy visual and physical access from each of the main downstairs spaces onto a sheltered shallow patio space, and further help to punctuate the composition of the contrasting vertical wood and snap-lock metal siding with Polygal clerstories. This creates an easily buildable and simply detailed exterior skin that taughtly wraps the 14'x32' minimal footprint of the building, making it an ideal self contained retreat for most any site. Shed roofed saddlebags, housing stairs, a cantilevered closet, and a shallow patio, give visual complexity to what is a very simple and carefully considered compact design.
We jumped out of the frying pan and striaight into the fire this week in Austin, at least as far as the temperature goes. Straight to 107˚ with a bullet! To deal with the heat we've been thinking a lot about dumpster pools, again. It's time to to tackle another dumpster pool project. To that end we offer up a more permanent version. It makes me cooler just looking at the renderings...
For some time now we've been slowly but surely working on a casita design for a small beach community in Nicaragua. Actually we've been working on a few designs for the same little development, casaMOD. Located a kilometer from the sleepy surf/fishing village of Playa Gigante, and sharing the amenities of Hotel Brio on the same property, the casaMOD development seeks to provide hip modern accommodations for the discerning Central American beach goer. To that end the nicaMOD design seeks to provide just the sort of relaxed space that any adventurous surfer or fisherman would love to retreat to.
Uphill driveway access leads to a glazed entry and stair core, saddled with a stucco and wood clad two story wall of storage closets on one side (for that collection of short and longboards, as well as secure storage when the casita is unoccupied or placed in the rental pool) and the massive stucco endwall of the greatroom on the other. Across the stairs from the entry is a fully glazed wall offering a glimpse out across the bay and the village below. Immediately through one of the twin portals of the thick stucco wall one enters a minimal and concrete-floored greatroom with a simple tiled galley kitchen and a tight fully-tiled half-bath projecting out towards the entryside, an angled woodclad window seat looking out over the surfbreaks at the other end of the bay, and a plywood clad inverted truss ceiling spanning between the two stucco endwalls and projecting out to cover a double height patio accessible through double sliding glass doors.
Heading down the steel and wood decked stairs and back through the thick stucco wall brings you to the downstairs hallway, with an exposed concrete retaining wall on one side and a woodclad bathroom core on the other. Windows at the ends of the hallway look into sheltered planting areas nestled between the foundation and the slope of the hill and provide much needed soft natural light to the hallway effectively buried in the slope of the hill. Twin fully mosaic-tiled bathrooms (one of which has a floor to ceiling window at the endwall of the shower,) accessible from the hallway and housed in the wood-clad core, provide a warm material counterpoint to the exposed concrete ceiling, stucco wall, polished concrete floor, and floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that overlook the downstairs patio.
With a fully glazed western facing wall, the downhill aspect allows amazing views out over the bays and associated surf breaks, as well as the stony landmark of the Pie de Gigante. The projecting exterior patio of the livingroom above shades the downstairs patio, and offers up a sheltered outdoor space to the bedrooms. A lower door off the staircore allows downhill access to paths that lead down to the pool and restaurant of the development. A simple material palette of white stucco structural walls, galvalum roofing, floor to ceiling glass, and wood clad projecting spaces coupled with the simple shedroof massing, create an almot Platonic solid for the everpresent sunlight and shadows to dance across, without trying to compete with the lush tropical views. A surfer's paradise indeed.
It's been a while since we posted any substantial pics of the lightBOX project. To remedy that we offer a little photographic tour of details and overviews of the main addition to the house and the backyard that is shared with the studio/carport documented elsewhere in the blog.
A 3/4" x 1 1/2" bar stock continuous steel handrail sneaks by the window in the landing and turns to rise to the upper floor.
North facing clerestories reflect light off of a blue painted wall and onto a white wall below them as the handrail rises to the landing before it swoops scross to lightly touch the wall.
Looking back from the landing you find the translucent glass wall of the shower pushing up to the northern line of clerstories.
The refelected blue of the stairwell can be seen from the bigROOM on the lower level beyond the kitchen and work island.
The tinybathroom is visually expanded by a wall to wall horizontal strip mirror, blue mosiac tile, and the translucent glass wall and north facing clerestory in the shower.
Looking down from the upper landing gives you an overview of the fully glazed south wall of the lightBOX and the translucent polygal western wall with its boxWINDOW overlooking the backyard.
The double height space and significant amounts of varied natural light coming from multiple cardinal directions, compose a main living space in the bigROOM perfect for entertaining and growing of house plants.
The boxWINDOW forms the terminating focus of the interior of the addition and serves to pull your view further into the backyard and towards the shared space between the addition and the studio/carport.
From the back corner of the yard the familial relationship of the house addition to the studio/carport becomes apparent.
The passive solar shading of the 6' overhang is evident on the Summer Solstice when the glass wall and the deck are pleasantly ensconced in shade.
The familial resemblance between the two buildings can be clearly seen in the limited material palette and the shared details: cedar slat railings and screens, square tube handrails, snap-lock vertical metal siding, sliding glass doors, and shared roof and fascia details, as well as the rhythym of the 8' structural bays, with 3 1/2" wide structural members.
The honest espression of the exposed structure forms a rigourous backdrop for the permeable wall that defines the boundary between interior and exterior living space.
The structural rhythym and rhyme of materials and details create a harmonious stage for the day to day rituals of inhabitation.
Materials and forms allow the changing light of the seasons to play across varied surfaces and call attention to its own transmutable nature.
Interstitial and adjacent spaces make the most of the relatively small inner city lot. The addition and the studio/carport hug the sideyard setback line, opening up the backyard to the south and to the sun and providing a relatively blank back to the North, punctuated only by clerstories and utilities, creating a vertual service and access yard out of the required setback.
Simple cedar slat screens and hogwire and square tube handrails make for an experiential ascent up the stairs from the shared gravel court between the buildings to the more private and removed cantilevered deck of the studio.
Layers of pattern and texture abound in a limited palette of materials and details.
Light filters through and reflects at even the most mundane of locations.
Smithsonian Blog made a quick little mention in their Design Decoded segment of la Boîte in a recent article about Coffee retailers working out of modified shipping containers.Thankfully they also featured a lovely photo of the box as well. We may be a bit biased, but la Boîte is a way sexier design than the other two coffee boxes featured...
We've had the pleasure to be working on a residential design for clients who aren't afraid to think outside the box, or rather think about how best to use the box. To that end, over these past few months we've been working on a moderately sized shipping container based home (ISBU home to those sticklers for terminology,) comprised of a total of seven modified ISO shipping containers.
The ground floor is composed of a 40' Hi-Cube that houses a home office and a guest suite (whose shower area opens up to the backyard and possible future pool) and a 20' standard container that comprises a gourmet kitchen, both of which bookend a sunken entry area (for shoe removal,) and a raised dining area, which open into the high vaulted space of the family room. Under the stairs, which rise up along a tall polygal wall, is the door from the carport and exterior storage container that defines the far edge of the home. Through a commercial glass door and a commercial overhead door on the back wall, can be found the wide covered porch and the extents of the backyard (and possible future pool...)
Heading back inside and up the stairs lands you at a catwalk "hallway" that serves the two boy's room, their shared bathroom and play area between, the compact washer and dryer closet, and the parent's en suite. Each bedroom is housed in a standard 20' container with it's own cantilevered balcony overlooking the frontyard and the servant spaces (bathrooms, utility room, andmaster closet) are infilled between the containers.
At each end of the catwalk are a roofdeck off the parent's suite (located over the exposed area of the 40' container below,) and access to a second 40' container that serves as the boy's realm (which has it's own exterior stair access to the backyard as well as a deck above the carport.)
Capping the whole ensemble of downstairs public spaces and upstairs private spaces is a large pre-engineered steel roof structure that makes room for an "attic" space above the bedroom containers with access to adjacent exterior roof decks.
With the free flow of ground floor space, the compartmentalization of the private spaces on the second floor, and the extra "attic" and upper roof deck spaces provided by the pre-engineered roof structure, the house is composed so that it tightly integrates the indoors and outdoors. Coupling that with integrated planters at the entry, backyard, and between the inner and outer stairs, this house will become further enmeshed into it's site through the landscaping.