Located on an ancestral family ranch in the Texas Hill Country, and in keeping with ranching tradition, a young couple with two children and of very modest means expressed their desire to build their own home and construct it themselves. The design started from the re-use of an existing foundation slab.
Because the couple lacked substantial construction knowledge but are digitally savvy, the architect also provided them with a complete digital 3-d framing model.
The family moved in prior to completion; without air conditioning, heat, and with limited finish work. As with pre-air conditioned historical structures in Central Texas, the house was specifically designed to be environmentally comfortable should energy become difficult to obtain. Work will be on-going over several years as resources become available.
Overlooking a cattle tank to the south, a reflective metal shield protects the primary stucco structure while creating interstitial zones of outdoor space. Cut-outs and openings in this shield are strategically placed to frame views to the countryside, pond, and vehicular approach.
Also, the building employs basic principles of passive sustainable design, largely through orientation and form, to take advantage of natural daylight and ventilation while controlling solar heat gain. The natural gentle slope of the site southward toward the cattle tank results in a micro-climate that produces air movement toward the home even on days without surrounding breezes. The moving air is then captured by the long façade and is further controlled by external and internal operable openings.