Westlake Hills Residence

An unparalleled view of downtown Austin, and the desire for an extraordinary home for entertaining, combined to make a powerful circumstance. While an entirely new building might have been more appropriate, side setback requirements would have demanded a building perpendicularly posed to the view. As a consequence the foundation of the existing home’s two end wings were maintained while the middle section of the building was replaced entirely. The new ensemble offers a radically different alternative to the dark spaces and ubiquitous geometry of the previous building, and emphasizes view and a dynamic spatial sequence, while at the same time creating an abstract backdrop for an eclectic collection of antiques.

Passing under a thick canopy of cedar and oak and ascending seventy-five feet, the visitor arrives behind the house into an intimate entry courtyard of limestone and succulent planting.  Still unaware of the expansive panorama to come, views are revealed slowly with carefully framed vistas. Upon descending into the main room, the ceiling rises to fourteen feet and the panoramic view of Austin unfolds. Twenty-one feet of oversized glass doors slide away entirely at the corner, allowing unfettered access to a generous deck in the tree canopy. Light chimneys, purpose-built walnut, anigre and black painted built-ins, white and pearl-gray terrazzo floors and a Calcutta Gold marble kitchen offer points of stasis to the compelling and omnipresent view.


Paul Finkel

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