The South 5th Street residence slips nonchalantly into the array of eclectic bungalows that line the streets of Austin’s Bouldin neighborhood. Here, a rare Austin Durand Oak and an unexpectedly steep escarpment created a powerful circumstance for a house that emphasizes view and a dynamic spatial sequence, while at the same time being an abstract backdrop for the serendipity of light and circumstance. The visitor arrives into a verdant courtyard under the majestic Durand Oak. A thin, 4” gabion wall at the street, evergreen plantings and a perforated, core-ten corrugated screen to the south, provide varying degrees of privacy and animation for the ensemble.
From the courtyard the house unfolds effortlessly and in several directions. A transparent living room hovers over the tumbling escarpment and through which the expansive panorama begins to become visible. Inside, dramatic vistas across the valley created by tributaries to Lake Austin are omnipresent, and the house is alive with activity. The visceral textures of concrete, mill-finished steel and raw stucco are presented against finely detailed millwork and custom site-glazed window walls—which are framed with rift-sawn white oak and steel to form flitch plate mullions. Great expanses of transparent glass is paired with ventilator doors that open to encourage breezes through the house. A second living area downstairs provides an intimate enclave that looks into the tree canopy and gives access to the tumbling landscape below. Upstairs perched above the trees, the master suite is filled with light and takes advantage of the valley views.