We were asked to redesign a small, 2-room apartment by a client who had decided to join the Westminster Senior Living Community in Austin.
The client wanted more space than she was able to get — due to demand and long wait-times for the larger apartments at the facility — so we set out immediately to increase the sense of space of this small apartment with whatever tools we had.
In addition to reconfiguring and modifying the bedroom and bath, we deployed built-in furniture and storage into nearly every wall thus freeing up more space for movement and creating the sense of there being more space than there originally was. We envisioned the apartment like a personal railroad car or ship cabin where every inch is well-considered and utilized.
Our office was asked to transform and expand a 1980’s-era attached duplex into 2 houses, or condominiums. We added 2nd-story master bedrooms to the front of the houses with new living areas below, and thus redefined the massing of the houses, their entrances, and sense of autonomy vis-a-vis each other. We played with the line between sameness and differentness of the units of this former duplex: we underscored that they are two mirror-imaging units of one larger structure, yet at moments treated the fronts of each slightly differently, imparting to each homeowner a sense of uniqueness. At the existing structure, we broke into the attic area to gain space for the lower level kitchen, exposing the original fir truss members and adding light from above. For the skin and character of the addition, we composed a composition of cladding: thin vertical brick and polygal insulated translucent wall panels. Our material choices, and approach to the treatment of the existing structure were in part born from the challenges of the developer’s limited budget.
Tom Hurt, AIA Contemporary Architecture