There’s a bend and widening of Texas’ Dry Frio River, where the water lingers year-round in a swimming hole. This is where principal Brian Korte, FAIA, design lead Camden Greenlee, AIA, and the rest of the Clayton Korte team are building a rustic modern getaway for Houston clients.
The house will hover high above the waterline, its long sides maximizing views of the river to the north and hills to the south. “The house is positioned on a big stone outcropping embankment and slopes down to the river,” says Cam. “To the west is a big open meadow. And the primary bedroom is to the east, so the clients can wake up to the sun.”
The house will contain nearly as much unconditioned space—in sheltered terraces and covered patios— as conditioned space. Like a cruise ship, you can do laps around the perimeter deck. Deep overhangs will shade glazing and interiors from hot Texas sun.
Full immersion in the river view happens best on the elevated boardwalk that extends toward the Dry Frio, opening the long views east and west along its flow. The boardwalk will terminate in a steel firepit built into the support pier—picturesque and practical at the same time.
Over time, earthy materials—Western Red Cedar, Cor-Ten steel, and limestone—will anchor the house to its landscape. “The patina will help tell the story of the house as it ages,” says Brian.
Backwards Sky Ranch
Texas Hill Country
Architect: Brian Korte, FAIA; Camden Greenlee, AIA; Javier Castro, AIA; Josh Nieves, Assoc. AIA; Brandon Tharp, Clayton Korte, Austin and San Antonio, Texas
Builder: Monday Builders, McAllen, Texas
Project size: 8.848 square feet (4,427 conditioned)
Site Size: 48 acres.