Residence 104 is located on a wedge-shaped site that opens to sweeping views of a canyon, Lake Austin, and the Hill Country beyond. The architects faced a challenge common among projects located on sharply sloping lots with commanding views: capturing views from the house while maximizing the amount of outdoor space on the site. The design responds to this challenge in two ways.
First, the house is laid out as an arc along the sharp fall of the terrain, high enough that the fill in front of the house creates a substantial level area. Accordingly—and in a reversal of the typical American suburban house—the front yard accommodates many family activities such as playing, gathering, entertaining, and cooking.
Second, the program of the house is broken into three pavilions connected by breezeways that allow the site to “flow” through the house, connecting the back and the front. This connection is accentuated through the design of the pavilions themselves as the home’s primary materials—wood ceilings, stained fir siding, limestone walls, concrete and stone floors—flow from interior to exterior.
The idea of blurring the line between front/back/in/out even applies to the carport, which opens up on the canyon side to provide view for the family upon arrival. On the canyon side, the floating deck’s curved glass railing and the negative edge pool further integrate the house with the landscape. At the same time, large sliding doors in the home’s glazed walls allow for easy movement of people and breezes. The roof, with deep overhangs to protect from the sun in the summer, is shaped to collect rainwater, which is channeled through a pair of expressive scuppers into two 20,000-gallon cisterns under the house.