A Q & A with Travis Young of Studio Momentum | 2017 Austin Modern Homes Tour

Are you enjoying this Spring-Summer and it still should be Winter weather or what? Austin is definitely made for outdoor living and it’s no wonder why, there’s a slew of architects and homeowners that makes it a point to make their outdoor space an extension of their interior abode. This weekend is the Austin Modern Homes Tour, get your tickets and get ready to be inspired!

Read my post on one of the amazing properties by Bercy Chen Studio and lucky me, I also got to do a Q & A with the visionary behind 1705 Collier, Travis Young of Studio Momentum. 

The backyard at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

The backyard at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

1/ How does Studio Momentum approach a project? First steps taken? 

The initial steps include a discussion of the goals and parameters of the project.  Oftentimes, this includes a frank conversation about the budget, the site, and the timeline.  In the case of the Collier residence, our firm acted as the architect and the builder, so meeting budget limitations was our responsibility from the beginning.  Secondly, we do a thorough examination of the constraints of the site.

For inner city lots, in existing neighborhoods constraints can be significant.  The City of Austin has numerous restrictions on the amount, size and scale of development.  Trees and topography as well as solar orientation all impact the site in very specific ways and we like to start with the right information to avoid pitfalls down the road.  Lastly, we must be clear about the time it takes to design, permit, bid and build a residential project.  For the Collier project, we spent approximately 17 months from the very first initial meeting to completion of the construction.

2/ What are the materials used in the Collier St. project & why?

The materials used in the Collier project are stone, stucco, steel and wood.  The stone and wood siding are regionally produced.  The stucco and steel is durable and designed to withstand the central Texas climate with very little or no maintenance over time.  The decking material is called Bam Deck, and is a composite product made of recycled plastic and bamboo fibers.  The interior flooring is a seven species, antique, reclaimed wood, that shows it’s patina and original saw marks.  This particular product was picked for its varied color and textured surface which would show less dirt, and allow the client’s dogs to get a better grip on the flooring, thus minimizing the appearance of scratches.

The kitchen at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

3/ Tell me more about the round cut outs made in one of the interior spaces & exterior space.

All things have a reason, and all things have been done before.  With that said, this particular detail provides a counterpoint to the many rectilinear forms seen in the house.  These circular openings mark thresholds between busy and quiet spaces.  They are intended to mark points of respite within and outside the home.  The keyhole entryway near the front of the house leads to a smaller “zen” space that is adjacent to the relaxing sound of the front porch fountain.  In the case of the outdoor covered porch, the opening allows views into the neighbors bamboo grove.  In this case, the neighbors are also the parents of the homeowners, so this connection is warranted.  Lastly, there is a beautiful art deco home near Shoal Creek called the Bolm house here in Austin.  This home has a similar keyhole feature.  In the Bolm Residence the keyhole passage is equipped with custom pocket doors.

This keyhole entry struck me as both functional and beautiful.  Architecture should have moments of joy.

4/ The balcony fence design is very interesting, tell me more about that.

We wanted to have something that met the criteria of the code, providing a fall guard at the balcony, that also reflected the exterior environment.  In particular we wanted something to blend and complement the massive trees that mark the site.  The home is designed around these trees, and each balcony projects into the canopy of a particular tree.  All standard railing designs seemed to stand in stark contrast to the organic natural forms of the canopy.  

This railing design attempts to mediate between that which is man made, and that which is natural.  It attempts to obscure the top edge of the guard rail, allowing the vertical flow of light and space.  The pattern is repeated, and modified at each corner, creating a musical rhythm.  

The front facade at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

The front facade at 1705 Collier | Studio Momentum

Thank you so much Travis! And yes, we totally agree — architecture should have moments of joy!

Peek inside Austin’s most coveted contemporary homes and explore throughout: 

 

3201 Sunny Lane, Austin, TX 78731 (Riverside Homes LLC)

1207 E. 13th Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Verde Builders Custom Homes)

1705 Collier Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Studio Momentum Architects)*

2111 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture)*

2804 S. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Bercy Chen Studio LP)*

2003 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Steve Zagorski Architect)

4911 Timberline Drive, Austin, TX 78746 (Bade Stageberg Cox)

1606 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

1608 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

3306 Lakeside Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (Thurman Homes)^

2800 San Juan Drive, Austin, TX 78733 (The Value of Architecture, Bercy Chen Studio LP)*^

5111 Crestway Drive, Austin, TX 78731 (Grey Raven LLC)^

2207 Townes Lane, Austin, TX 78703 (Winn Wittman Architecture)*^

Get your map and get your tix HERE >>>. And because I’m feeling extra generous, get $5 off with this discount code, MAUREEN2017.

Austin Modern Homes Tour 2017 | 5 Things to Know about 2800 San Juan

The Austin architectural landscape is as diverse as they come — from traditional homes to Tuscan villas in & around the Lake, from mid-century modern homes to French chateaus, but the ones making waves are the clean lines with both aesthetic & sustainable sensibilities. This weekend, brace yourself for another awe-inspiring Austin Modern Homes Tour.

Living Room 2800 San Juan Austin

Last Thursday, I met with the Design-Build team for one of the projects featured in the tour, 2800 San Juan. It’s easy to be intimidated by award-winning & internationally acclaimed architects but Thomas {Bercy} & Sasha of Bercy Chen Studio is as Austin-friendly as they come. The site visit was both enlightening as it was educational. If you are attending {and you better!}, you must make it a point to check out the property. Here are 5 Things to Know about the Property:

1/ There are 2 homes built opposite each other, each one symmetrical in plan and design but the other one rotated at 90 degrees.

2/ The homes are built for outdoor living. There are open vistas bleeding to a view of the neighboring house creating a “borrowed” and Zen-like landscape as well as the rest of the hill country on the horizon. Which really begs the question, aren’t we all intertwined and interconnected? If you didn’t notice, I was getting a tad political there for a second.

3/ They built a contrast between the upstairs & the downstairs, case in point, there is dark stained concrete floors downstairs & upstairs are white {and bleached some more} oak floors. Walls are thinner upstairs {look for the indention} than downstairs. According to Sasha, “we want the downstairs to read as a carved out piece so we decided to go with a thicker material on the lower level so it would read as a block that was being carved out with the courtyards.”

A mix of materials, Corten Steel + Stucco Base & bleached, white oak floors {no it's not a typo}

A mix of materials, Corten Steel + Stucco Base & bleached, white oak floors {no it’s not a typo}

4/ There is beauty in imperfection. Look for their take on Wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetics of the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The oxidation of Corten steel to the stucco base creates an imperfection that’s impermanent & incomplete, continually evolving and yes, imperfectly perfect!

5/ The mix of materials is a study of different cultures. The structure itself is a take on the artistry & sculptures of Mexican artist, Yazpik — thick stucco base at the bottom, thin Corten steels for the top. The outdoor living space upstairs has Brazilian Massaranduba floors unmistakable for it’s rich red hue. The perforated steel inspired by Moroccan shapes & cutouts. The cabinets are European. White oak floors are so Scandinavian & the Lueder limestone in the bathrooms, well, it’s from Lueder, Texas. Of course, there’s the Japanese influence {wabi-sabi} and the Zen-like courtyards. Look also for the beautiful Walnut kitchen cabinet doors, custom made in Austin. So, I would say that’s 6 cultures all together, 7 if you consider the Texan culture as distinct {and it is, right?}.

Walnut Kitchen Cabinet Doors 2800 San Juan Austin

Photos by Andrea Calo

Thank you so much Sasha & Thomas!

Architecture is more than meets the eye, guys! When you go on the tour, step into the minds of the architects, feel the materials, look for inspiration and revel in the beauty that Modern Architecture in Austin has to offer.

Peek inside Austin’s most coveted contemporary homes and explore throughout: 

3201 Sunny Lane, Austin, TX 78731 (Riverside Homes LLC)

1207 E. 13th Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Verde Builders Custom Homes)

1705 Collier Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Studio Momentum Architects)*

2111 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture)*

2804 S. 4th Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Bercy Chen Studio LP)*

2003 De Verne Street, Austin, TX 78704 (Steve Zagorski Architect)

4911 Timberline Drive, Austin, TX 78746 (Bade Stageberg Cox)

1606 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

1608 Salina Street, Austin, TX 78702 (Newcastle Homes)

3306 Lakeside Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (Thurman Homes)^

2800 San Juan Drive, Austin, TX 78733 (The Value of Architecture, Bercy Chen Studio LP)*^

5111 Crestway Drive, Austin, TX 78731 (Grey Raven LLC)^

2207 Townes Lane, Austin, TX 78703 (Winn Wittman Architecture)*^

Get your map and get your tix HERE >>>. And because I’m feeling extra generous, get $5 off with this discount code, MAUREEN2017.