Overlooking the prestigious Patterson Avenue in Alamo Heights, this 1968 home would have been considered modern in its time of construction and was a no brainer purchase for our young American born client, currently living in London. He was eager to push the design envelope to create an open space for family and friends to converge. The principle objective in the remodel was finding a playful way to embrace the original bones of the house incorporating modern 21st century luxuries.
The original Architects, Ken Bentley and John Kell, had collaborated upon leaving O’Neil Ford’s office. This legendary design firm cast a heavy influence evident through the use of brick walls, sloping shed roofs and Douglas fir detail and millwork connections. JGA was overcome with the richness of the material palette – the Endicott brick floors, copper roofs, double withe brick walls, and concrete floors. But most of all, we were honored to chisel and sculpt this great space and humbled with the opportunity to make contributions to the original master’s work.
The owner’s vision of the home was that of an industrial warehouse inspired by the existing opulent masonry material palette. He also had a distinct vison which he described as a barbell – a form that is bounded on the ends and open in the middle, known and revered in Texas as a Dog Run. The double withe brick walls operated as book ends that flanked the newly expansive warehouse space. This space was further dramatized by the sloping hillside site – cascading from the rear courtyard, tumbling through the great room, skipping over the front pool entry courtyard onto the street. This connection with the outdoors is further reinforced with the large sweeping roofs that morphed into a Cadillac Coupe de Ville fin shed – adding a third vertical dimension to the plan by that of an aperture to the sky.
Coupled with the introduction of an infinity edge pool to the existing entry courtyard, the barbell great room’s spacious volumes leak out in every direction – creating a dog run floating sensation on the sloping site. Cascading water enlivened the entry procession providing a live sculpture with the calming sound of falling water and the deep serene reflections of the heritage oaks above- harking back to the traditional regional roots of the acequias that were a part of the original hacienda courtyard entries.
This home is clever and honest in its renovation – leaving behind numerous remnants foreshadowing modern accoutrements while bestowing a deep seeded reverence for the labors of the pioneering masters that preceded us.