From the category archives:

Balcones House

Balcones House

09/28/2011

 

This house is a recreation of a modest mid-century house plus an addition. The intent was to maintain the spirit of the original design while expanding, repairing and solving the functional problems of the original house. Most of the original structure was too badly damaged to retain, but the new house retains the essence of the original house reinterpreted, upgraded, and preserved for the future.

The house sits on the Balcones fault, which is actually a series of small fractures called an eschelon. It is entered from below through an open-air, covered stone stair tower that draws cool air into the house. One side of the house looks uphill, creating spaces between house and cliff; the other side projects off the hill, looking into trees in the ravine below. The volume of the original house is rebuilt with new materials and different openings. The ‘addition’ is separated from the original volume by clerestory windows, which give southern light and a view of the treetops. This roof kinks in two dimensions; in plan to respond to the existing cliff, and in section to make a butterfly roof which directs the eye uphill and collects rainwater.

The house is designed from an integrated perspective, employing passive solar principles and many green features. These include window placement to optimize daylight and solar heat gain in the winter while avoiding summer heat, a roof that reflects most of the sun’s heat, extra insulation, low-embodied energy local materials such as new-growth cypress and pine, photovoltaic panels, and rainwater catchment. Pollen developed several custom materials used in the project including an exposed aggregate concrete slab topping with a terrazzo-like effect and concrete tiles with a texture pattern that creates unique light and shadow patterns on the wall.

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See the Balcones House featured in Nov. 2012 Issue of Texas Architect

Open House Article flip forward to pg. 27

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Check out the Balcones House which was featured in the October 2012 issue of Dwell Magazine

James outside of Balcones house

Image from October 2012 issue of Dwell Magazine photo by Brent Humphries

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Tribeza did a nice article on the Balcones House in its annual architecture issue.

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Flip forward to pg. 46 to read the article.

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austin-modern-homes-tour_2

Pollen is thrilled that the Balcones House will be part of this tour featuring some of the best modern design in Austin. Come out February 4th, 2012 to say “hi” and see some terrific houses. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

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The finishing touches are continuing apace to get the Balcones House ready for the AIA Homes Tour next weekend.  The board-formed concrete around the existing outdoor fireplace was a feat of engineering accomplished by many hands and much patience.  The steel planters are in – and planted.  And we are very happy with our beautifully fabricated custom grille and lock details inside the house.

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balconesaia
Pollen is pleased that the Balcones House will be featured on the 25th Annual AIA Austin Homes Tour. The tour is October 1 – 2, 2011 and features homes by some terrific architects. This is a great opportunity to get out and see the best new design happening in Austin. Come by the house and chat- we’d love to answer your questions. We hope to see you there!

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Pollen’s Balcones House and Materials Recovery Facility will be exhibited in “ACADEMIC PRACTICE: An Exhibition of Faculty Work from The University of Texas School of Architecture” from August 30 – September 24, 2010

From the exhibit description: “Faculty advance the field through their work and in so doing define their own knowledge base and their value systems. More than the School of Architecture’s public presence through its literature and reputation, faculty accomplishments portray what they know, the range of their interests, and what they value in the field. The work presented in “ACADEMIC PRACTICE: An Exhibition of Faculty Work from The University of Texas School of Architecture” provides a window into its faculty’s values and, as a result, the principles that guide the school.”

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The Balcones house is nearing completion!  All the interior pine boards have been installed and the plaster on the walls and soffits finished.  The concrete floors were ground smooth last week.  Meanwhile we’ve been working on the handrail around the living room balcony and the awning around the kids’ bedroom windows.  Michael has also been experimenting with patterned concrete boards for the wall next to the front door.

Our next big area of focus is the landscaping, which we’re working on with the talented (and aptly named) landscape firm Studio Balcones.  Enjoy the latest photos!

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