Architects: Matt Fajkus Architecture
Project: sideSTEP House
Project Manager: Sarah Wassel
Design Team: Matt Fajkus, AIA; Sarah Wassel; David Birt
Location: Austin, Texas, United States
General Contractor: Newcastle Homes
Structural Engineer: GreenEarth Engineering
Phase: Completion 2017
Photography: Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours
The site is a standard City of Austin urban infill lot with several trees located along one side. Aiming to protect and embrace existing trees, the residence is configured as a series of deliberate steps surrounding a side yard and is hence titled “ sideSTEP House ”.
This series of volumes allow generous amount of diffuse and direct daylight throughout the year, as well as allowing for the new house to blend into the existing scale of its 1950’s neighborhood. With the carport facing the back alley, the one-story front massing functions either as a formal dining room or a ground floor home office with an eave height closely matching the immediate neighbor. Asymmetrical hipped roofs further acknowledge the existing neighborhood context while minimizing house profiles with low slopes. The massing volumes step up in height gradually towards the back and the alley side. A tongue & groove cedar-clad staircase volume breaks the horizontality of the hardie board siding on the remainder of the front façade.
The sideSTEP House addresses both the front and side yards for entertaining. The kitchen is placed at the center of the ground floor, fully opening up onto a wood deck in the side yard. The indoor/outdoor connection is strengthened by the continuation of wood-clad ceiling to the exterior soffit of the balcony. The tongue & groove cedar wraps around the balcony and the ground floor rear entry door, visually connecting the key outdoor areas across both floors. Although separated from the kitchen/living area, the dining room also opens to the wood deck.