Landscape Architecture: Studio Balcones
Structural Engineering: Structures
Environmental Design: Positive Energy
Interior Space: 850 sf
Landscape Living: 1100 sf
Surface Livable: 1950 sf
Text description provided by the architects. The Haskell Health House, modeled after concepts in Richard Neutra's Lovell Health House, reinterprets how a conscientious architecture might be embodied in Austin, Texas today. The urban infill home holds 850 sq ft of interior living and pairs it with 1,100 sq ft of landscaped living along downtown's hike and bike trail on Lady Bird Lake.
The efficient and tall interior spaces of Haskell Health House form a footprint designed for maximum utility. The stair tower acts as lungs, pulling rising heat to exit through north-facing clerestory. Hopper windows above all of the doors feed the stair tower, creating constant air movement. A 3-head split system offers an option for mechanical climate control as well. The upgraded vapor barrier provides greater thermal comfort – keeping the air conditioner on 70F in Texas’ July, the energy bill was only $118 (1/3 normal costs for the same size space.)
In keeping with the design manifesto, the outdoor kitchen, dining table, cocktail lounge, master screened porch and roof deck that overlooks Lady Bird Lake bring living spaces outside. Native plant selections and edible features qualify this yard as a Natural Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. Visitors are greeted by range edge plantings like persimmons and prickly pear to form a hardy barrier from the street. The front yard hosts a hypernature plant gallery with loquat, agarita, and various wildflowers of central Texas. Privacy is enhanced along the fence with screened edge plantings like virginia creeper, mustang grapes and Will Fleming yaupons.
Haskell Health House depicts a future in which the new urban home truly celebrates garden living.Reduced impervious cover allows for greater recharge of our underground water resources.
Landscaped living fosters natural habitats to be a greater part of our daily life, not relegated tovisitation in municipal and state parkland only. Individuals who can connect with nature every day ontheir personal urban nature preserve can lead more fulfilling, healthy lives. As Mies van der Rohe sopopularly shared, “Less is more.” Within our current context of sharing finite resources, the HaskellHealth House proves that using fewer resources in building consumption and in energy systems canprovide both a healthy and luxurious solution.