Saint Emanuel House

Houtston, TX United States

Ronnie Self Architect


Project Description

The Saint Emanuel House captures Houston: a city of skyscrapers, freeways, single family homes and lawns and gardens. The project mediates between the downtown skyline seen beyond sixteen lanes of depressed freeway on one side, and a traditional neighborhood on the other. The house is lifted on concrete walls and columns, and the cantilevered slab nods to the nearby elevated freeway ramps and bridges. The underside of the house functions like a large porch for outdoor living and responds to the street. The home is compact and modest in size. The building has good solar orientation and is organized accordingly. It has wide roof overhangs for shading. Sprayed-in cellulose provides superior thermal and acoustic insulation. A roof deck floats over the house like a giant parasol providing shade and a ventilated cavity above the waterproofing. The deck also provides more distant views and a wide open panorama of the ever changing Texas sky. Inside, public spaces flow around the stairwell that pierces the concrete slab at its center and threads together the ground, the home and the sky. Private spaces are more intimate. The two bedrooms are oriented toward the garden only. The bathroom, in the middle of the house, is dramatically lit by horizontal clerestory windows. A circulation axis runs parallel to the freeway with full height windows at both extremities that give a sense of endless space. In this small building, a wide variety of spatial qualities, views and vistas makes it more generous than its actual size.


Project Details

Saint Emanuel House
Shared by:
Firm Name:
  • General Contractor: Burrow Studio 
  • Structural Engineer: CBM Engineers Inc., ASA Engineers Inc. 
Project Type:
Project Status:
Year Completed:
Project Size:
    1,600 sq ft


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