This project was selected as a winner in AIA's 2023 Interior Architecture Awards.
As the architecture industry continues to fine-tune its sustainable design practices, River Ranch proves that sometimes going back to basics is the best solution. For the 3,592-square-foot residence in Blanco, Texas, Jobe Corral Architects used rammed-earth walls in combination with other environmentally friendly touches (think: a rainwater capture system) to create a site-specific design that explores the contemporary benefits of an ancient building technique.
After a variety of tests to discover the ideal aggregate, construction method, and thickness for the house’s earthen walls in the hot Hill Country climate, the Austin-based firm specified decomposed gravel, a local waste material that absorbs and releases heat slowly, to achieve a more regular interior temperature. Aesthetically, the gravel creates a structure that feels tied to its 150-acre site, while glass walls and clerestory windows in the primary bedroom and living room provide the homeowners with expansive views of the surrounding desert. Other natural materials like copper, steel, and local limestone form a complementary interior palette.
Project: River Ranch, Blanco, Texas
Architect: Jobe Corral Architects, Austin, Texas
Audio Visual: ALP Design Solutions
Contractor: Pilgrim Building Company
Energy Consultant: Positive Energy
Landscape Design: Environmental Survey Consulting
Lighting Design: Studio Lumina
Pool: Hample Pools
Structural Engineer: Leap! Structures
Size: 3,592 square feet
This article first appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of ARCHITECT.