RANCH HOUSE 1 – West of Austin, Texas
My clients have owned this 300 acre ranch west of Austin, Texas since the mid 1980’s. Since then, they have invested an enormous effort to restore the overgrazed land with severe erosion problems in places to it’s natural grassland state of 100 years ago. For example, rather than burn the cedar that is cleared to allow the native grasses to reestablish itself, the cedar is chipped into mulch instead. They also run a small organic vegetable and fruit farm on another part of the ranch.
Their desire to be good stewards of the land led to the desire to build a house at the highest point on the ranch that would look and feel like it grew from the site naturally. The program for the house was fairly straightforward. Take in the tremendous long-range view, blend into the very exposed site, provide strong protection from the elements while maintaining connection to the site in an intimate and larger sense. The buildings needed to be low maintenance, structurally strong to withstand high winds, energy and resource efficient, not enormous in size and above all, comfortable and unassuming.