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Constant Springs Residence

The Art of Discretion

Alterstudio Architecture

Austin, the capital of Texas, grew up along the banks of the Colorado River. Today, the modern metropolis has extended to encompass many of the watercourses that have molded this distinctive countryside. To the west of the downtown area - between the Colorado River and Barton Creek, this latter coursing further south - lie extensive residential neighborhoods amidst luxuriant vegetation fed by many streams and creeks. Nature has given Austin a fistful of pluses: year-round sunshine and an enviable climate producing abundant vegetation and making it possible to live immersed in nature yet just a short distance from the city center. This was the attraction for a family of four when they decided to downsize from a large suburban house to a smaller more central residence that provides all the leafy comfort and calm usually connected with outlying areas yet is within walking distance of community facilities. Sited at the end of a cul-de-sac, on the edge of an escarpment, at the bottom of which lies a creek, this family home was designed by alterstudio in accordance with the family’s vision: an oasis of quiet amidst nature, a stone’s throw from the city center. Again fully backed by the family, the architecture practice adopted its signature holistic approach to sustainability. This started by helping the family assess the potential of a compact site that would immediately reduce the family’s carbon footprint. Located in a very ordinary neighborhood of large gabled-roofed houses surrounded by identical gardens, the residence stands out for its careful orientation and the way its plan has been molded to fit into the existing vegetation. An extensive ipe deck provides a flat floor plan and raises the interior and external domestic spaces, making the home seem to hover among the tree tops growing along the creek below. A broad sinuous roof covers the whole precinct for living, creating continuity throughout the property, while a delicate custom-glazed...

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