Project: Urban Retreat in Austin
Architect, Builder, Developer: Ravel Architecture
Location: Austin, Texas
Project size: 2179 ft2
Site size: 4123 ft2
Completion date 2020
Photo Credits: Chase Daniel
Text and photos: Courtesy of Ravel Architecture
E2211 is an urban retreat in Austin Texas that was developed, designed, and built by Ravel Architecture.
A poured-in-place concrete wall serves as a boundary to a private north facing entry garden. The building is justified to the back of the lot in order to maximize the outdoor space. Large double story glazing connects the dining area and courtyard for indoor/outdoor feel. The home features a semi-connected kitchen with built-in appliances – for entertaining and discreet conversation zones. The ground floor master has exterior access and unique combination bathroom-closet. The second floor den overlooks the dining room out to the northern yard. A southern clerestory window balances light throughout the year, helping to provide natural illumination to every room in the house. Hand made rift-sawn white oak cabinetry is featured throughout the home.
What was the brief?
Since we were the developers of the project, (our own clients!) the brief was for us to design a home that would be worthy of long-term care. We wanted to make a statement about how more housing should be developed directly by architects.
What were the key challenges?
The lot is small for Austin, typical lots are about 50% bigger. The home fronts Austin’s Light-Rail which many developers see as a risk.
What were the solutions?
The building was pushed to the back of the lot and a concrete wall was placed at the front in order to maximize the privacy of the yard and ensure that large openings were possible and private. The concrete wall also creates a sound barrier for the periodic passing of the train. We actually really enjoy seeing the train pass from the second floor loft.
Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
We (Ravel) are the clients for the project. This is interesting because this project is an example of an architect-led development. I wouldn’t call the project “no-compromise” as we do have restrictions, but I think its a great example of “low-compromise”
What are the sustainability features?
The home features low maintenance metal siding, spray foam insulation, a high efficiency zoned HVAC, natural light in every room. SOLAR ready
How is the project unique?
This project is unique because it is an example of an Architect-led home development. The project serves as an example of a higher standard of development that can be achieved when buildings are developed by Architects instead of just developers.