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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Woodland Residences in Austin, TX by Derrington Building Studio

 
October 24th, 2015 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source: Derrington Building Studio

WDLD_Project Description

Woodland is a small residential community nestled among a grove of large trees in a neighborhood that is just minutes outside of downtown Austin, Texas.  The development started with a simple program of four houses, but quickly became complex through the site’s general conditions and restrictions. Unusual property lines, a steep bluff, and an abundance of old-growth trees squeezed the buildable area for the project. This, in turn, presented privacy and view concerns given the close proximity of each house to the surrounding trees, as well as one other. Along with these issues, permitting violations from a previous owner had to be overcome.

In working with a limited budget and economical materials, we placed extra attention on massing and fenestration. This particular house is 850 square feet of living space and includes two bedrooms and one and half baths. Simplicity of form with dynamic elements and limited use of color creates an impactful form without being overly dramatic. , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

In working with a limited budget and economical materials, we placed extra attention on massing and fenestration. This particular house is 850 square feet of living space and includes two bedrooms and one and half baths. Simplicity of form with dynamic elements and limited use of color creates an impactful form without being overly dramatic. , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

  • Architects: Derrington Building Studio 
  • Project: Woodland Residences
  • Location: Austin, TX, US
  • Photography: Craig Washburn
  • Software used: Vectorworks
  • Developer/Design Director: George Blume of GHB3
  • Engineer: JM Structural
  • Landscape Designer: Casey Boyter
  • Contractor: GreenTex Builder
  • Construction Manager: William Hodge
  • Total SF: 6514 total sf; House 1 – 1102, House 2 – 2084, House 3 – 1102, House 4 – 2226
  • Year: 2015

This project is built on a hilltop, filled with diverse views and giant, protected oak trees. Irregular lot lines, situated on the edge of a rounded bluff with wandering setbacks and a tight budget make for a complex design challenge. In spite of the difficulties, the opportunity to nestle homes amongst large trees of this sloping grove, minutes from downtown Austin, was too great to pass up, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

This project is built on a hilltop, filled with diverse views and giant, protected oak trees. Irregular lot lines, situated on the edge of a rounded bluff with wandering setbacks and a tight budget make for a complex design challenge. In spite of the difficulties, the opportunity to nestle homes amongst large trees of this sloping grove, minutes from downtown Austin, was too great to pass up, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Rather than seeing these challenges as problematic, the design team chose to embrace these issues and allowed the constraints to influence the design.  The result produced a unique experience that provides both ample space, and a sense of privacy for each dwelling, while weaving between the trees and their root systems.  The windows were carefully placed to maximize indirect light and views of the surrounding greenery, while also minimizing less desirable lines of sight.

Due to the site constraints and placement of the houses, conventional yards are not included. Instead, we landscaped everything in front and back of the homes to be usable as a garden, a path, or some other form of outside experience, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Due to the site constraints and placement of the houses, conventional yards are not included. Instead, we landscaped everything in front and back of the homes to be usable as a garden, a path, or some other form of outside experience, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Personal privacy was a large consideration in the design. Placement of windows limits direct views into each neighbor’s home. We capitalized on the site’s topography - not only is there horizontal distance between the houses, there is vertical distance. Because of the height, width, and space, privacy feels more conventional despite the close proximity of the buildings.  House 4 in the background was not only built around the tree, but sunken into the site to reduce the perceived scale of this 1800 square foot home. A portion of the house seems to float in space - a dog run intentionally bridges the gap from the garage to the main living space to avoid impact with the tree roots and preserve the life of the oak tree.  , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Personal privacy was a large consideration in the design. Placement of windows limits direct views into each neighbor’s home. We capitalized on the site’s topography – not only is there horizontal distance between the houses, there is vertical distance. Because of the height, width, and space, privacy feels more conventional despite the close proximity of the buildings.
House 4 in the background was not only built around the tree, but sunken into the site to reduce the perceived scale of this 1800 square foot home. A portion of the house seems to float in space – a dog run intentionally bridges the gap from the garage to the main living space to avoid impact with the tree roots and preserve the life of the oak tree.
, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The development forms a unified and intriguing community of dwellings that create a backdrop for the surrounding trees, while also utilizing them to offer a wooded reprieve from a busy city life.  The material palette for the project was selected based on a simple aesthetic and an appreciation of economy and durability. Tall, pre-manufactured windows are arranged vertically within each dwelling to accentuate the height of each space and to capture framed views.  Due to the topography, different homes utilize different foundation types.  Some homes use elevated pier and beam systems, perching the massing on at a hilltop, overlooking the trees. Others depress into the earth, allowing the opportunity to expose concrete retaining walls.  The modest, white exterior elevations are intended to be a clean backdrop to the organic and unrestrained vegetation on the site.  The color palette makes them modern, but the combination of board/batten and lapped siding roots the project in the vernacular of old Austin.

The entry drive to the Woodland property showing Houses 1 and 2. The white elevations are intended to be a clean backdrop to the organic, unrestrained nature of the site.  Note the diagonal line above the garage in House 2. This is a functional element in that it’s the guardrail for the stairs that lead to the expansive roof deck, capturing 360-degree views of the tree canopies, and the city beyond.  , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The entry drive to the Woodland property showing Houses 1 and 2. The white elevations are intended to be a clean backdrop to the organic, unrestrained nature of the site.
Note the diagonal line above the garage in House 2. This is a functional element in that it’s the guardrail for the stairs that lead to the expansive roof deck, capturing 360-degree views of the tree canopies, and the city beyond.
, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

In working with a limited budget and economical materials, we placed extra attention on massing and fenestration. This particular house is 850 square feet of living space and includes two bedrooms and one and half baths. Simplicity of form with dynamic elements and limited use of color creates an impactful form without being overly dramatic, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

In working with a limited budget and economical materials, we placed extra attention on massing and fenestration. This particular house is 850 square feet of living space and includes two bedrooms and one and half baths. Simplicity of form with dynamic elements and limited use of color creates an impactful form without being overly dramatic, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The driveway leading through the community viewed from House 1.  Landscaping services by Casey Boyter Gardens, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The driveway leading through the community viewed from House 1. Landscaping services by Casey Boyter Gardens, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

A view from the balcony of House 1 looking onto a tree that was already well-established by the time of the American Revolutionary War. We took great care to preserve the tree’s roots and placed each pier of this house’s foundation one by one, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

A view from the balcony of House 1 looking onto a tree that was already well-established by the time of the American Revolutionary War. We took great care to preserve the tree’s roots and placed each pier of this house’s foundation one by one, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The white canvas of the exterior walls reflect subtle, as well as dramatic, changes in the color of the environment as the evening progresses. , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The white canvas of the exterior walls reflect subtle, as well as dramatic, changes in the color of the environment as the evening progresses. , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Window placement is literally and figuratively highlighted. There are no direct views of the activity inside the home. The houses are exposed without being vulnerable, private without being closed, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Window placement is literally and figuratively highlighted. There are no direct views of the activity inside the home. The houses are exposed without being vulnerable, private without being closed, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Floating dog run of House 4 connecting the garage and main house with views into the central oak tree and House 3 perched beyond. The flooring is tropical hardwood, chosen for long-term durability and ease of maintenance, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Floating dog run of House 4 connecting the garage and main house with views into the central oak tree and House 3 perched beyond. The flooring is tropical hardwood, chosen for long-term durability and ease of maintenance, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

A view of the House 4 kitchen island with staircase leading to bedrooms, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

A view of the House 4 kitchen island with staircase leading to bedrooms, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The balcony of House 1 is close enough to the 400 year-old oak to climb on to the tree. This house is only a few feet from the street. The guardrail and the tree shield the occupants from the street. The pecan flooring was chosen for its durability and is a nod to the Central Texas environment (remember, pecan is the Texas state tree), Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

The balcony of House 1 is close enough to the 400 year-old oak to climb on to the tree. This house is only a few feet from the street. The guardrail and the tree shield the occupants from the street. The pecan flooring was chosen for its durability and is a nod to the Central Texas environment (remember, pecan is the Texas state tree), Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

A view of the sky-lit reading nook from across the master bedroom, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

A view of the sky-lit reading nook from across the master bedroom, Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Generous ceiling height (16 feet) is accentuated by tall windows that allows sunlight to lazily stream across the floor as the day passes. The height of the space gives one a greater awareness of light and shadow. , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Generous ceiling height (16 feet) is accentuated by tall windows that allows sunlight to lazily stream across the floor as the day passes. The height of the space gives one a greater awareness of light and shadow. , Image Courtesy © Craig Washburn

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

Image Courtesy © Derrington Building Studio

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Categories: Building, House, Residential, Vectorworks

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