In contrast to immodest new homes and significant additions to existing dwellings that have altered many of central Austin’s neighborhoods, the single-story Pemberton Residence revels in its dynamic interior world. Nestled between the gables of its neighboring houses, the residence, built for empty nesters interested in trading unoccupied bedrooms for proximity to Austin’s bustling nightlife, draws inspiration from Joseph Eichler’s noted Northern California homes. Much less expensive to build than the typical construction surrounding it, the home is an enigmatic presence containing a delightful interior that waits to be discovered.
“This design does so many things well for sustainability, community, client, and formal composition.” – Jury comment
Pemberton Residence was envisioned as a new model for a typical city plot and an alternative to seemingly endless suburban sprawl. The local neighborhood association and surrounding community have long campaigned for a return to the neighborhood’s original, pre-war fabric, and this project assuages those desires through a modern context. Its engagement at the street level coupled with its modest scale reestablishes the neighborhood’s character and sense of walkability.
“This design does so many things well for sustainability, community, client, and formal composition,” said the jury. “The design is a fresh reconsideration of the Mid-Century case study houses and should be commended for its compact form, economy, and modest but elegant composition.”
“The design is a fresh reconsideration of the Mid-Century case study houses and should be commended for its compact form, economy, and modest but elegant composition.” – Jury comment
With mechanical systems modeled to the environmental, structural, and design conditions, the home is carefully sited for solar and wind orientation, efficient systems, and a robust relationship between its occupants and their indoor space. Though often hot and humid, the Texas climate can be an exciting living environment. Once provided with shade and ample breezes, the outdoors remain accessible nearly year-round. Pemberton Residence takes advantage of the climate to provide its owners with both a private refuge and an invitation to live among the landscape.
Since its completion, Pemberton Residence has continually exceeded the clients’ expectations, providing a constant source of interest and long-term sustainability as they enjoy their new life in Austin. While the design is specific to the clients’ needs and desires, the home could easily be occupied by various family compositions, including those with children.
Architect: Alterstudio Architecture LLP
Location: Austin, Texas
Category: One- and Two-Family Custom Residences
General Contractor: Abode Homes
Structural Engineer: Duffy Engineering, Inc.
Landscape: Athena Pools, Aleman Design & Build
Cabinetry: Signature Cabinets
Geotechnical Engineer: Capital Geotechnical Services
Photography: Casey Dunn
Etty Padmodipoetro, AIA, Chair, Urban Idea Lab, Boston
Kenneth Luker, AIA, Perkins Will, Durham, N.C.
Marica McKeel, AIA, Studio MM Architect, New York
Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times, San Francisco