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Austin, Texas, Residence

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Project Description

2005 CHDA
Custom Home Less Than 3,000 Square Feet / Merit Award

Architects sometimes can be their own best clients. This was the case with Elizabeth Danze and John Blood, who designed a new home for their family of four. They particularly relished the chance to try an open-minded approach to room function and designation. “We thought a lot about how we would experience the house over time—daily, monthly, seasonally,” says Danze. “Instead of thinking of one room as a dining room it became the room with the high ceiling that gets northern light and how it could accommodate our various ways of living in it.” They considered how spaces would be used for the family, with guests, and individually, making sure design decisions reflected that flexibility.

One unusual move that fit their particular lifestyle as well as the site's harsh incline was to open up the plan vertically rather than horizontally. A ribbon of public circulation spaces winds through all three floors and creates an open core from top to bottom. As the house moves up and out, it downplays an uncomfortably close neighbor while maximizing spectacular distant views and takes advantage of an adjacent protected green belt. “The house wraps around a pool and large deck on the north side,” explains Blood. Danze adds, “There are decks on every level that face each orientation, allowing us to enjoy the maximum range of outside experiences the house could afford.”

In addition to commending the architects/ homeowners on their solution for a challenging yet panoramic site, the jury also respected the “well-resolved” floor plan and enjoyed the wealth of “cool details” throughout the house.
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