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Casa de Sombra, Austin, TX

Casa de Sombra

View from entry gate looking east towards master patio with bedroom above | Photo by Whit Preston

Carport and pool | Photo by Bade Stageberg Cox, Tim Bade

Courtyard Looking South

Pool gate interior | Photo by Bade Stageberg Cox, Tim Bade

View from entry towards kitchen, dining, and living room | Photo by Whit Preston

Interior view of kitchen | Photo by Whit Preston

View of living room | Photo by Whit Preston

Living room facing south towards courtyard | Photo by Whit Preston

Pool court facing south | Photo by Whit Preston

Guest apartment stair | Photo by Whit Preston

Upper level bedroom hallway | Photo by Whit Preston

Upper Bedroom

Upper level bedroom hallway facing north | Photo: Bade Stageberg Cox, Rob Bundy

Balcony overlooking living room | Photo: Bade Stageberg Cox, Tim Bade

Pool Court Night

First Floor Plan and Site Plan

Second Floor Plan


BSCís design of this 5,000 SF house for a family of seven explores the integration of indoor and outdoor living in response to the high temperatures and rainfall of Austin, TX, balancing solidity and weight with lightness and transparency.

The site, within one of Austinís fast-growing suburban neighborhoods, is situated on a limestone bluff 8 feet higher than the street, affording the house a surprising degree of privacy, and views over the neighboring houses to downtown Austin. A stand of mature Live Oak trees on one side and an Ash on the other constrain the space provide vital shading.

The house is organized around a central courtyard to create an outdoor gathering space for the family and their many guests. It opens to the south, towards a pool court of exquisite privacy, light-filled and animated through the permeable skin of the rooms encircling it. Large windows and sliding doors provide cross-ventilation and connect the interior social spaces to outdoor rooms, the front courtyard and backyard. Sun-tracking computer modeling enabled us to calibrate the extended roof planes to minimize solar heat gain in the summer and allow passive heating in winter.

A double-height living room has movable shutters to provide sun control while letting dappled light in to animate the interiors. The shutters, fabricated by a local metalworker, are formed from water-jet cut aluminum panels inspired by moon phase charts. The perforations are bent at random angles to form a light-reflecting louver at each opening. The screen design is adapted for the carport , courtyard gates, entry gate (in weathering steel) and custom exterior light fixtures, casting shadows that heighten oneís sense of the passing of the day.

Natural materials used throughout - the warm red-brown of mesquite, the cool smoothness of ground concrete floors, the powdery quality of sanded aluminum, the raw solidity of board-form concrete and weathering steel - create a palette that will patina over time and endure in the desert climate.

PROJECT TEAM: Timothy Bade, Jane Stageberg, Martin Cox, Rob Bundy, Eimear Arthur