BBA was approached by the owner of the Avenue G projects in December of 2005 while Burton was working as project architect and builder of the award winning Floating Box House (Westlake Hills). Our client was intrigued by the possibilities of marrying some of the quiet minimalism of the Floating Box into his own property in Hyde Park. The initial mission was deceptively simple. He wanted to change the interior orientation of the main house toward the rear yard and create an enclave for entertaining. The new “compound” might contain some nature of multi-use studio. At the time, the yard was overgrown with bamboo. A dilapidated shed and a long concrete driveway graced the southern side of the yard.
BBA removed the shed and in its place erected a single room efficiency studio. We were drawn to a building form that was, in its simplicity, almost a child’s drawing of a building. A shell rendered in zinc, wood, travertine and plaster, with moveable partitions allowing almost complete connection with the outdoors. A solid wooden core houses the air conditioning and a small laundry room, allowing the owner to move these operations out of his main house. The core also creates privacy for a full bath. The entirety of the yard pivots about a hanging, rotating fireplace suspended from the shell. The owner, a successful entrepreneur, uses the studio as his office (which removes the clutter and stress of work from his home).
The principal house bore the scars of multiple prior renovations. It was our mission to restore the flow of the house and create a quiet, minimal, unified whole. Rather than changing the house, BBA took its mission as one of opening up and highlighting the potential of the home. Original floors were preserved without effort to mask the locations of deleted improvements. In place of the newer flooring in the rear of the house, BBA located long-leaf pine (reclaimed from a barn in central Texas) to match the original. While the interventions are subtle, it is remarkable how little the interior of the house resembles the house we initially encountered.