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.