A house that’s modern and intimate, expansive and cozy at the same time and warm and family friendly – this is what the clients requested from the architects before the Lake View Residence project started. The team at Alterstudio Architecture, an Austin-based practice, used all their experience with ecologically-responsive designs and long-term sustainability to make those wishes come true.
The team’s meticulous attention to detail and special attention to the relationship between architecture and the social activities it shelters allowed them to come up with a design that’s in harmony with its cultural context and natural surroundings.
The residence was completed in 2011 and is situated in Austin, Texas. The site is surrounded by mature oak trees, some of which made their way into the actual structure of the house. The site influenced the architecture of the house in more than one way. Everything was carefully planned in order to offer optimal cross ventilation and protection from the sun as well as beautifully framed vistas.
The direction for the design was provided by a series of conflicts. The house needed to offer splendid views as well as protection, had to offer its users a strong connection with nature while also feeling cozy and private and also had to emphasize an overall lightness without neglecting a strong and durable structure.
Built for a family of four, the Lake View Residence reveals the panoramic views gradually. A limestone pathway flaked by large trees and vegetation leads to the entryway. From here, you can only catch a glimpse at the stunning panorama, the rest being revealed little by little as you go deeper into the house.
The trees, the views and the building all interact in a natural and very pleasant way. The foundation is laid across a web of roots and open terraces and a ceiling that expands beyond the interior spaces for sun protection reveal the panorama in its full glory.
The house was designed to suit the needs of an active family. It has large social spaces for entertainment and large gatherings as well as a series of smaller and more intimate spaces. An orange and blue palette defines all the main spaces.
These two accent colors are complemented by a lot of beautiful chocolate-brown wood that covers the floors and some of the walls. The covered exterior terraces on the ground floor feature large tree trunks penetrating their floors. This was done as a way to preserve the site while also finding a way to make the house feel comfortable and functional.
The main social areas are all connected. A large open kitchen designed in white and wood features an island that separates it from a seating area. The island doubles as a bar/ breakfast nook and leaves enough room to one side for a casual dining area.
A round, marbled table surrounded by classic light blue chairs occupies a space next to the full-height windows and thus offers some of the most beautiful views.
A separate, more formal dining room is connected to the pool terrace through sliding glass doors that also let in natural light and great views. A space divider with a built-in fireplace offers this area privacy. The 19th century Persian carpet and the combination of classic and contemporary furnishings set a harmonious and welcoming ambiance.
On the other side of the wall divider is a cozy seating area with its own modern fireplace. In here, a combination of textured area rugs, elegant textures and relaxing colors establish a warm and comfortable atmosphere.
This great balance achieved with the project is the result of careful planning. All the areas, including the bathrooms, establish a strong connection with the surroundings, whether it’s through expansive openings, skylights that let in diffuse light or a choice of materials that reflects natural beauty in unique ways.
In addition to the careful planning and attention to detail, the architects and designers involved in this project also managed to follow a set of sustainable guidelines by incorporating elements such as geothermal HVAC systems, photovoltaic panels, green roofs and employing FSC certified wood throughout the residence.