House Built On An Extreme Slope Overlooks The Magnificent Austin Canyons

It’s always impressive to see what some architecture are able to pull off in order to take advantage of a beautiful view or a well-positioned site. One of the most interesting residential projects in this sense is the High House, a magnificent contemporary home located in Austin, Texas. 

The house features floor-to-ceiling windows and an angled roof that direct the attention towards the canyonView in gallery
The house features floor-to-ceiling windows and an angled roof that direct the attention towards the canyon

The project, completed n 2021 by studio RAVEL Architecture, presented a major challenge in the form of a site with an extreme slope. 

The house complements the naturally-curved site which gives it a boomerang-inspired aesthetic from a large distanceView in gallery
The house complements the naturally-curved site which gives it a boomerang-inspired aesthetic from a large distance
Given the fact that this is a single-storey building, the floor plan is quite linearView in gallery
Given the fact that this is a single-storey building, the floor plan is quite linear

In response to the challenging landscape, the architects came up with an ingenious solution. The plan was to use the natural curvature of the land in their favor and to build a house that follows this shape. To ensure this was possible first a retaining wall needed to be built in order to terrace the site for access. This wall divides the house which is placed on one side of it from the driveway which is on the opposite side. 

The retaining wall helps to shape the land and separates the driveway and walkway from the actual houseView in gallery
The retaining wall helps to shape the land and separates the driveway and walkway from the actual house

The house itself required special consideration as well. Due to the unevenness of the terrain the architects decided to build it on a series of piers which reach heights of up to 30 feet (9 meters). This decision was also influenced by the client’s request for a single-storey house. By doing that they managed to ensure that every room in the house gets to enjoy a beautiful view of the canyon and the city which unfold below the site. 

The living room, dining area and the kitchen are all combined into a big open space with a perfect 180 degree viewView in gallery
The living room, dining area and the kitchen are all combined into a big open space with a perfect 180 degree view
The living areas also open onto a covered deck and a beautiful infinity poolView in gallery
The living areas also open onto a covered deck and a beautiful infinity pool
The large black island separating the kitchen from the rest of the social areas doubles as an elegant barView in gallery
The large black island separating the kitchen from the rest of the social areas doubles as an elegant bar
Each and every room in the house enjoys a panoramic view over the canyonView in gallery
Each and every room in the house enjoys a panoramic view over the canyon
The master bathroom features a small private balconyView in gallery
The master bathroom features a small private balcony

Photographs: Chase Daniel