West Campus Residence, by Alterstudio and Mell Lawrence Architects

This project was selected as a merit-based winner for the 2021 Residential Architect Design Awards, Architecture Interiors category.

This house is small, but its interior flow, light, privacy, storage, and public and private spaces are all made with a skillful hand. —Ingrid Spencer

Constrained by mature oak trees and property setbacks, the zero net West Campus residence squeezes into one of the densest neighborhoods in Austin, Texas. Designed by Alterstudio and Mell Lawrence Architects for one of Alterstudio’s architects and their family of five, the two-story, 1,922-square-foot residence offers efficient, cost-effective space that blends in with its surroundings. The interior invites to the outside thanks to large windows on the first floor, skylights and a porch on the second floor that engages with the street.

The first level flows into a series of connected common areas bounded by thoughtful and pragmatic elements such as functional floor-to-ceiling oak screens and panels that conceal storage and utilities. Integrating IKEA cabinets with custom lighting throughout, including all four bedrooms, increases the budget without compromising the spirit of aesthetics. And, by collaborating with mechanical engineers and solar designers, the studio has reduced its environmental footprint with details like solar panels covering two-thirds of the roof.

Particularly pleasant moments occur where an oak slatted screen reveals a staircase – as if it were an expected guest – and a warm wood panel faces a lacquered steel panel.

Project: West Campus Residence, Austin, Texas
Customer: Ernesto Cragnolino and Krista Whitson
Architects: Alterstudio Architecture, Mell Lawrence Architects
Reference architect: Ernesto Cragnolino and Krista Whitson
Landscape architect: Word + Carr
Interior decorator: Alterstudio architecture
Structural engineer: Dennis Duffy, PE, Duffy Engineering, Inc.
Mechanical engineer: Kristof Irwin, Positive Energy
Civil engineer: Kurt Prossner, PE, Prossner and Associates, Inc.
Geotechnical engineer: Nicholas F. Kauffman, MS, PE, Capital Geotechnical Services
General contractor : Alex Ferdman, Green Places
Cut: 1,922 square feet
Cost: $ 287 per square foot

Materials and sources:
Appliances: GE Appliances, Better, Whirlpool, Bosch
Concrete: Alviter Béton Services
Electric: GingerLux Electric
Exterior wall systems: Iron wood, Mason’s mill
Ground: Mason’s mill
A glass: Glass and mirror Marble Falls
HVAC: Indoor weather professionals
Insulation: Cold insulation
Lighting: Soraa, Liton, Nuvo, Panasonic
Masonry / Stone: Dupont Corian
Metal: Flexospan, Kloeckner
Carpentry: IKEA
Paintings / finishes: American-Polish, Permalac
Photovoltaic / Other renewable energies: Lighthouse
Plumbing / water system: Dupont Corian, Hansgrohe, Kraus, American standard, Insinkerator, Grohe, Duravit, NDS, Rinnai, Product Preserver, Chief Sioux
Roof: Roof of the state capital
Wall coverings: Daltile, Stone and Tile Mission, Dupont Corian
Walls: BMC, Mason’s mill
Windows / Curtain Walls / Doors: Maverick (exterior doors), BMC (interior door), Centex (the Windows)

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