Launch Slideshow

Big glass doors and an overhang of solar panels make up the guesthouse's front elevation.

Mod Cott

Mod Cott

  • Big glass doors and an overhang of solar panels make up the guesthouse's front elevation.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9BE%2Etmp_tcm48-400438.jpg

    true

    Big glass doors and an overhang of solar panels make up the guesthouse's front elevation.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    Mod Cott
    RADA 2010 – Custom Home 3,000 Square Feet or Less / Grand Award
    Architect: Mell Lawrence Architects, Austin, Texas; Builder: Classic Constructors, Marble Falls, Texas; Photography: Mell Lawrence

    This Texas guesthouse and weekend retreat juxtaposes rough-edged elements and polished precision. Big glass doors and an overhang of solar panels make up the front elevation.
  • Raw, site-gathered juniper branches and standing-seam metal clad the back of the building.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9BB%2Etmp_tcm48-400411.jpg

    true

    Raw, site-gathered juniper branches and standing-seam metal clad the back of the building.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    Raw, site-gathered juniper branches and standing-seam metal clad the back of the building.

  • The rocky, rugged landscape directly influenced the guesthouse's design.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9C0%2Etmp_tcm48-400456.jpg

    true

    The rocky, rugged landscape directly influenced the guesthouse's design.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    The rocky, rugged landscape directly influenced the guesthouse's design.

  • At night, a central light fixture casts shadow lines around the loft-like interiors.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9BD%2Etmp_tcm48-400429.jpg

    true

    At night, a central light fixture casts shadow lines around the loft-like interiors.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    At night, a central light fixture casts shadow lines around the loft-like interiors.

  • In keeping with the project's simple, elemental aesthetic, a halved steel pipe creates a gutter connecting the roof to the rainwater tank.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9BA%2Etmp_tcm48-400402.jpg

    true

    In keeping with the project's simple, elemental aesthetic, a halved steel pipe creates a gutter connecting the roof to the rainwater tank.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    In keeping with the project's simple, elemental aesthetic, a halved steel pipe creates a gutter connecting the roof to the rainwater tank.

  • Interior fir detailng adds a warm elegance to the space.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9C2%2Etmp_tcm48-400465.jpg

    true

    Interior fir detailng adds a warm elegance to the space.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    Interior fir detailng adds a warm elegance to the space.

  • A metal plinth forms a small staircase landing.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9B9%2Etmp_tcm48-400393.jpg

    true

    A metal plinth forms a small staircase landing.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    A metal plinth forms a small staircase landing.

  • The project takes in expansive views of a lake to the south.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9BC%2Etmp_tcm48-400420.jpg

    true

    The project takes in expansive views of a lake to the south.

    600

    Mell Lawrence FAIA

    The project takes in expansive views of a lake to the south.

  • The guesthouse's bath.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9C5%2Etmp_tcm48-400492.jpg

    true

    The guesthouse's bath.

    600

    Jacob Termansen

    The guesthouse's bath.

  • The project's first floor plan.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9C3%2Etmp_tcm48-400474.jpg

    true

    The project's first floor plan.

    600

    Courtesy Mell Lawrence Architects

    The project's first floor plan.

  • The guesthouse's bath.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp9C4%2Etmp_tcm48-400483.jpg

    true

    The guesthouse's bath.

    600

    Courtesy Mell Lawrence Architects

    The guesthouse's bath.

mell lawrence architects, austin, texas

The jury loved the way this Texas guesthouse and weekend retreat juxtaposes rough-edged elements and polished precision. “It has heart,” said one judge. “It’s quirky—that’s what I like about it.”

Architect Mell Lawrence, FAIA, took cues from the craggy surrounding landscape. “The trees have a textural quality, and the ground is rocky, with a lot of limestone outcroppings,” he says. Corrugated metal siding and storage doors made from raw juniper branches relate to this rugged aspect, while the interior wood detailing and standing seam metal roofs add refinement. The local vernacular played into these contrasting material choices as well. “In the older rural areas around the South and Texas, people mixed a lot of smooth boards and rough wood,” Lawrence notes.

The blufftop site’s view down onto the lake below helped dictate the home’s orientation and glass-filled southern façade. A south-facing overhang covered with solar panels wards off the harsh sun, while generating enough energy to power the 1,400-square-foot cottage. And a rainwater collection system and xeriscaping provide additional resource-conserving measures. While not technically off the grid, the house is self-sufficient, just as Lawrence intended. “The clients wanted it to not relate to the main house,” he says. “They wanted it to feel like another world.”


Project Credits
principal in charge: Mell Lawrence, FAIA, Mell Lawrence Architects, www.architecturalpolka.com 
project architects: François Lévy, Scott Smith, AIA, Mell Lawrence Architects
general contractor: Shawn Solsbery, Classic Constructors, Marble Falls, Texas, www.classicconstructors.com 
structural engineer: Jeffrey L. Smith, P.E., Smith Structural Engineers, Austin, Texas
project size: 1,400 square feet
site size: 10 acres
construction cost: Withheld
photography: Mell Lawrence

Product Details
bathroom and kitchen fittings: Hansgrohe www.hansgrohe-usa.com; bathroom fixtures: Griffin Products www.griffinproducts.com, Kohler Co. www.kohler.com; decking: Filler King Co. www.fillerking.com; dishwasher: Bosch Home Appliances www.bosch-home.com; hardware: Alexander Marchant www.alexandermarchant.com, FSB USA www.fsbusa.com; kitchen fixtures: Blanco www.blancoamerica.com; lighting fixtures: Crescent/Stonco www.stoncolighting.com, Design Within Reach www.dwr.com, Lucifer Lighting Co. www.luciferlighting.com, VIBIA www.vibialight.com; paints/stains/wall finishes: PPG Industries (Pittsburgh Paints) www.pittsburghpaints.com, Velvit Products Co. www.velvitproducts.com; solar energy system: Meridian Solar www.meridiansolar.com; windows: Columbia Windows & Doors www.columbiawindows.com

View the next 2010 rada winner.