Hyde Park, Austin, TX
The Avenue G House is a substantial addition to and renovation of a former duplex in Austin’s Hyde Park national historic district. The existing building’s steel casement windows and locally made brick facades were maintained, while a second story was added in the form of an ipe-clad, abstract volume.
Particularly unusual in this neighborhood of discrete rooms, the visitor enters into an unexpected sense of openness through the depth of the house. Two double-height spaces further increase the sense of space and invite light deep into the center of the house, and opposing interior box windows further suggest a sense of communication across this space. A delicate steel stair ascends to a loft/family room, barely contained by glass rails, and the private realm of the house beyond. Here, quarter-sawn white oak panels fitted with custom steel handles slide to connect alternating spaces. In the master bathroom, careful detailing connects the shower and vanities though partially obscured glass allowing natural light from the shower skylight to filter through to the interior space. Downstairs, a powder room, pantry, wine room, HVAC and great amounts of storage are hidden behind the book-matched walnut cabinetry that defines the respective living areas. Throughout the house, ungraded ipe floors lend a sense of warmth and serendipity to the ensemble.
Respectful of its neighbors, the Avenue G House is unapologetically modern, yet comfortable within its context. The new building values abstraction and serendipity over composition. In a sense it is a datum against which both the historical context and the changing character of reflection, shadow and material might play out.