Highlighting excellence, quality craftsmanship, innovation and sustainability
Text by Cheryl Alexander and Tina Zulu
Photography by Benjamin Hill
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston recently held its 2015 Annual Home Tour featuring nine area homes that represent the finest in new residential architecture as selected by a jury of experts. The two-day, self-guided tour was open to the public and offered attendees the heightened experience of stepping inside an impressive assortment of privately owned residences designed by Houston architects.
Held each year, the tour features homes that are located within the Houston metropolitan area, designed by an AIA architect and completed within the last five years. The selection criteria include design excellence, quality and craftsmanship, innovative design solutions and use of materials, and sustainability. The selection committee reviewed all submittals and made a recommendation to the AIA Houston executive committee, which made the final selection of homes. This year’s selection committee is Cord Bowen of The Southampton Group; Houstonia Magazine publisher Diane Caplan; and Mark Wellen, FAIA of Rhotenberry Wellen Architects in Midland.
“Our desire is…to present a spectrum of what is happening now — from traditional to modern, 750 square feet to 7,500 square feet, renovation to new construction — and show how these can be wonderfully different and yet each can be revered,” said Benjamin Perry, Associate AIA LEED AP of Collaborative Designworks, AIA Houston 2015 Home Tour chairman.
1504 Kipling St., 4,644 square feet
This residence is a new and modern yet serene addition to the Montrose neighborhood just north of the Menil Collection grounds. Designed for a growing family of five, its generous open family zones are oriented to large glass walls facing the street and a courtyard swimming pool. The courtyard also creates a buffer between the master suite and the children’s play and bedroom zones. The master suite is covered with Cumaru rainscreen siding, with large glass walls off screened balconies to the north and south sides. Fixed wood slats provide privacy on the first floor, while a sliding second-floor panel is a privacy control between the street balcony and the study.
Terraces at Palm,
1525 and 1521 Palm St., 2,700 square feet.
A corner lot on a wide, oak-lined boulevard in the Houston Museum District created an opportunity for street-front terraces and a unique floor plan for each unit in this townhome community. Double height spaces, split-level living rooms and monochromatic interiors are packaged into a LEED certified design. City planning requirements of a 15-foot-visibility triangle led to a small park with integrated seating and plantings that provide shade.
The six townhomes are grouped into pairs of interlocking sections with two opposing stucco finishes, a natural grey and a painted white, and further articulated with an anodized strip of windows and aluminum panels. Windows placement creates larger overall exterior openings, achieving a grander scale within the individual apertures and the massing of the building.
4111 Drummond St., 2,100 square feet.
Lars Bang AIA, among the first of the University of Houston College of Architecture graduates, designed the Bendit House in 1952; it was heralded by local and national media and featured on the area modern house tours. Now mostly surrounded by large-scale homes that have replaced the one-story ranches, its design showcases the tenets of early Modernism yet it is futuristic enough to be mistaken as contemporary despite its actual years.
The palette of textures and finishes creates a sense of calm, while scale and proportions provide drama. Simplicity is the overriding aesthetic, with continuous surface planes and materials from exterior to interior and a remarkable absence of trim and moulding.
A contemporary roof replacement vastly improved energy efficiency; electrical and plumbing systems and the kitchen were upgraded. Original paneling and millwork were stripped of paint and restained, and a new plywood ceiling was installed to match original layout and finish. Period-correct fixtures, accessories and hardware, harvested from neighboring demolitions, contribute authentic detail.
Restored, the historic house addresses contemporary issues of sustainable residential design: energy efficiency via passive solar, right-sized programming and aging-in-place suitability.
ENVIRONMENT ASSOCIATES ARCHITECTS & CONSULTANTS: Heights Integral Urban Homestead,
312 E. 27th St., 3,570 square feet
This private residence is designed for living in a healthy, stress-reduced and sustainably responsible manner within Houston’s inner loop.
The aesthetics of this Registered LEED Platinum homeplace honors Houston Heights’ historic architecture and is passive-designed for high energy performance plus solar system to become 100 percent net zero energy. The rainwater harvesting system provides 100 percent of year-round household and landscaping needs, with landscaping designed to be mostly edible. The damaged existing trees were harvested to provide the home with beautiful exposed wood interior trusses, cabinets, trim work and doors; a sycamore tree was preserved. The design accommodates the homeowner’s polio physical disabilities and desires for indoor air quality and outdoor living that surpass EPA certifications.
The passive cooling component delivers comfort year-round, even without power. Natural breezes produced by the linear cupola provide natural cooling. Porches, awning roofs and deep overhangs provide shade and allow open windows and porch usage during rainstorms. Cross ventilation throughout the home and purposely positioned porches and windows allow additional months of living without use of mechanical systems. It is designed for low maintenance, durability and aging-in-place.
2219 Kane St., 751 square feet
Located in Houston’s Sixth Ward Historic District, this home from the 1880s was originally located at 2314 Kane and relocated in 2014 to a prominent neighborhood entry point. The new owner, whose other small Sixth Ward home has no guest accommodations, turned the severely neglected structure into an office and guest house. The house is a mere 751 square feet plus the exterior porches.
The restoration and renovation retains the home’s original plan while helping the space function in a more contemporary way. The missing front porch was reconstructed, and a side porch enclosed in the 1890s was restored, allowing views to the west. A skylight was located at the structure’s center. Extraneous doors were eliminated while others were improved. Millwork along the west wall provides storage and a fold-down bed. A slot cut through the three main rooms provides openness. A long bar of built-ins was inserted into this slot to serve as work spaces and kitchen. The kitchen and the enlarged bathroom convert easily into guest quarters.
M+A ARCHITECTURE STUDIO:
5906 Grace Lane, 990 square feet
(560 from original 2011 building and 430 in 2013 addition)
The original 560-square-foot house was an exploration in small-scale living, intended as a one-bedroom starter home. After completing the original design, the owners learned they were expecting a baby. A second bedroom/bathroom brought its size to 990 square feet. The family has since enlarged to five, all living in a small, efficient space — one that is a transformation of one small house into another, slightly larger, small house. New concrete cast in place, steel and glass complement the original building and are connected via a floating glass bridge element used as a library and reading room.
Located in a transitional inner city neighborhood, this house is an infill project on a street of small, post-World War II houses. Expansive north-facing windows flood the house with daylight. Lower scale windows to the south extend the view of the living spaces into the landscape. Quality of space and material refinement is the goal, rather than quantity.
11333 Iris Lee Lane, 8,708 square feet
Quiet and unassuming, this modern refuge in the heart of Memorial sits among soaring trees on a corner lot where stop signs, ditches and culverts signal a pace of life slower than the hustle and bustle of the busy arteries just minutes away.
This private residence integrates the hard and rigid — brick, glass, steel, metal panels and cypress — with the malleable: ponds as greeters and landscape companions, organic plantings and framed views of nature. The exterior dimensions of the house disguise the spaciousness of the interior where boundaries, planes and corners seamlessly weave in and out.
At almost 9,000 square feet, the residence includes an inviting double-height living space with expanses of sliding glass walls, a wing of secondary bedrooms off the main living hub, another wing for entertaining with an open kitchen/family room complemented by a summer kitchen and lanai, and a master retreat on the entire second floor with a private terrace overlooking the lap pool and tennis court.
1134 Aurora St., 2,545 square feet
This modern gabled house is half of a double-lot project commissioned by a developer client with good design sense. This two-story hybrid between a townhouse and a custom house exemplifies efficient living spaces, complementary outdoor balconies, clean lines and sensible material selections.
The plan includes an open concept kitchen-dining-living space with a patio and small green space. The upper floor has flex space, two bedrooms, a master suite and balconies overlooking the street and yard.
This house and its adjacent twin are in dialogue with the original bungalows on this quiet street in Sunset Heights, just off the thriving commercial farmers market district of Airline Drive where neighbors, foodies and the city’s restaurateurs stock up on various fresh produce and spices.
2235 Goldsmith, 3,328 square feet.
Located on a small lot in an older neighborhood, this new home provides a strong outdoor connection for entertaining, gardening and music. Exterior materials of face brick and stucco on the front take contextual cues from nearby houses. The brick wing, capped by a roof deck, defines the public and private outdoor spaces.
A cast concrete stepping stone floats in the pool water. Living and dining areas share an open space with the kitchen but are delineated by a free-standing cabinet pass-through feature.
The baby grand piano in the bay window projects outside to large Corten steel raised planter boxes. Four steel trellis structures tone down and direct sunlight at key openings and shade the terrace space facing south into the garden. Rock-salt-textured concrete exterior paving complements the mottled stained concrete floors inside and connects with grass pavers to accommodate required guest parking off the narrow neighborhood street.
Category: Featured Homes