This project consisted of a complete renovation of a house located in a historic neighborhood. The original 1940?s house suffered an unfortunate addition in the 1980?s. The main goals of the project were to restore the house of the 40?s vocabulary on the exterior while transforming the interiors to bring more light and provide a better connection with a fantastic backyard. A simple material palette was used to maintain a balance between the traditional aspects of the original house and the modern updates.
The Architects made subtle changes to the front door and entry landscape, and concentrated on transforming the confined and dark interiors to bring in more light and to establish a better connection with the outside. In the existing house, the backyard views were blocked by a heavy fireplace and small windows with thick mullions. This sense of disjuncture was also present at the existing rear yard where a fenced-in pool, brick terrace and roofed arcade served to divide rather than unify the landscape. Responding to these spatial liabilities, the Architects opened the backyard by shifting the new lap pool to the side and aligning it with the new sliding glass doors of the den. This re-alignment in conjunction with a new largely transparent rear fa?ade then created the opportunity for multiple points of prospect between interior spaces and outdoor zones, blurring the line between the two.
The existing garage was also remodeled to include on the upper level a fully equipped gym, bathroom, and guest bedroom. The strategic additions and subtractions to this project allowed the thoughtful recapturing of outdoor spaces: a courtyard off the living room, a terrace off the gym, an outdoor living room with a cooking area, fireplace and projection screen behind the garage and a sunbathing deck off the den.
A Sol Lewitt sculpture, visible from the main rooms of the house, increases the depth of the yard and provides a crisp and geometric focal point.
In the last few years, Austin based Mir? Rivera Architects (MRA) has emerged as one of the leading new architectural voices in the United States, quietly creating a body of work that exemplifies design excellence and that has been recognized nationally and internationally with numerous awards including 15 American Institute of Architects design awards and the 2006 AR Emerging Architecture Award in London.
At MRA, architecture is understood as an endeavor where the realms of ideas, aesthetics and technology intersect. Aware of the role of the architect as a citizen- thinker- artist- builder, MRA aspires in every project to create responsible architecture that responds to its natural or urban context, addresses basic human needs, is beautifully crafted and has longevity and presence.
Juan Mir?, born in Barcelona, obtained his professional degree at the School of Architecture of the Universidad Polit?cnica of Madrid. He earned a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Master of Architecture at Yale University. Juan is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture of the University of Texas at Austin.
Miguel Rivera, born in Puerto Rico, obtained his Bachelor's degree from the School of Architecture of the University of Puerto Rico. He earned his Master of Architecture from Columbia University in New York City. In 2005 Miguel was awarded the AIA National Young American Architect Award.