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Specht Harpman


  • Scott Specht
  • Louise Harpman

Project Status


Year Completed



4,060 sq. feet



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Project Description

This project involved the renovation and adaptive re-use of an existing single-story brick building in downtown Austin. The structure, built in the 1920s, housed a wide variety of tenants through the years, from a mom-and-pop grocery store to leasing offices for new downtown condominiums. The current owner, a creative company involved in film production, was on an extremely limited budget and wanted to re-use as much of what existed as possible, while still making something that was uniquely “Austin” in character.
We embraced this spirit of frugality, repurposing, assemblage and local-sourcing, and used many unique strategies in the space: re-sawn siding from a demolished building in Austin became a wall and ceiling surfacing that gives a great deal of character to the common areas; raw stock-steel segments from a local supplier were used to fabricate interior partitions, space dividers, and kitchen installations; cement backer-board, a rough common material that is usually used as an underlayment for tile, was applied as another surface treatment; and cheap, off-the-shelf chandeliers were painted and installed for feature lighting. Many interior partitions and surfaces were re-worked and re-installed, saving money and allowing traces of the varied history of the space to be part of the new use.
The resulting space perfectly fits the character of the client, the neighborhood, and the city and still serves the functional needs for which it was created.
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