Here is our interview with Kevin Alter, founder of Austin-based firm Alter Studio architects. Not only is the Harvard graduate an internationally recognized architect, but he has also been a visiting critic, reviewer, lecturer and visiting professor for a number of institutions worldwide.
In addition to running his award winning practice, Alter is the Academic Director of Architecture Programs, Associate Dean for Graduated Programs, Sid. W. Richardson Centennial Professor of Architecture, Director of the Summer Academy in Architecture, and Associate Director of the Center for American Architecture and Design at The University of Texas in Austin, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in design, construction and theory.
Projects from Alter Studio at ArchDaily:
Texas Hillel is a private organization that provides a forum for high-holiday and weekly Sabbath services for the three main movements within Judaism. However, over and above its identity as a place of worship, Texas Hillel strives to be a community center for the 4,000+ Jewish students at The University of Texas at Austin (representing one of the largest Jewish student populations of any American university). Informal classes, lectures, student activities, community events and a full-service, kosher meal-plan are all part of the daily life of this institution. The design for a new 18,000 square-foot facility, three times the size of the previous dilapidated building, became a vehicle to contemplate the various ways in which architecture might be significant to this organization and its constituencies. Designed for a modest budget, ingenuity in planning and detail were paramount for insuring the quality and character of the building.
Extraordinary views in the heart of the city and a small buildable footprint limited by restrictive easements prompted a thin, three-story home with the main living spaces and master suite on the top floor – essentially a one-bedroom loft with 270° views. A 16’ ipe screen envelopes the body of the house, and rests delicately atop a base of long courses of black Leuders limestone.
Photographs and details of East Windsor Residence after the break.
Architects: Alter Studio
Location: Austin, TX
Contractor: Crowell +
Landscape: David/Peese Design
Project Area: 4,500 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Paul Finkel Photography, JH Jackson Photography
Two blocks east of South Congress Avenue, almost at the top of the gentle rise from Ladybird Lake, the Annie House takes its circumstance as the primary motivation for its form. The elevation combined with the presence of a small church yard directly across the street suggested the possibilities of downtown views in perpetuity from a second floor. As a consequence, the typical arrangement of public and private spaces is here inverted: the primary living spaces are arranged upstairs with a wall of glazing north towards views of downtown, while private bedrooms open to protected courtyards on the floor below. An exterior spiral stair further connects the house to a roof deck and the ever-present breeze.
See more photographs and a further description of the Annie Residence after the break.
When the clients for the Bouldin House, a young couple in the music industry, approached Alter Studio they didn’t have an image in mind, or a site, but knew that they wanted a very special home that would embrace the many different things that they liked. The design presents an aesthetic that engages serendipity in many guises, where board-formed concrete, rough recycled wood flooring, and vertical cedar siding is posed against abstract detailing allowing sunlight and shadow from every direction.
Architect: Alter Studio
Contractor: S&W Construction
Landscape: Mark Word and Client
Project Area: 2300 sq ft
Project Year: 2009
Photographers: Paul Bardagjy Photography and Jonathan Jackson Photography