A 52-foot wall of glass connects residents with nature.
On a particularly picturesque piece of land on the Colorado River outside Austin, architect Sean Guess has created a beautiful single-level home providing residents with unfettered views of the river and a prime example of Texas-style indoor-outdoor living.
“My client’s goal was to visually experience the water from all the living areas of the home,” says Guess, owner and principal of Austin-based architecture firm Faye and Walker
. “Our plan allowed us to organize all the living and sleeping rooms on the waterfront side while concentrating the service areas of the home on the street side, providing the desired visual connection throughout the home.”
“It’s a very dramatic space and serves to highlight the experience between the home and the waterfront.” Sean Guess, owner, Faye and Walker
This 52-foot wall of glass, which includes both fixed and operable panels, lets in tons of natural light.
The result is a stunning 52-foot-long living space comprising the kitchen, living, dining, and game rooms, and it’s all held together with massive moving wall of glass from Western Window Systems. When open, the barrier between the indoors and outdoors is virtually eliminated, exposing the interior to a beautiful covered terrace, furnished with patio seating, built-in barbecue, and a spa. Beyond the terrace, residents are treated to over 200 linear feet of grassy riverbank, towering pecan trees, a boat dock, and, of course, the Colorado River..
“At one point, we had a couple of columns to support the exterior terrace roof. However, the client wanted us to conceive of a way to remove as much structure as possible to strengthen the unimpeded view of the water,” says Guess, who worked with Paul Mulligan, owner of Austin-based builder Mulligan Construction
and Dennis Duffy of Duffy Structural Engineering to pull off the feat. “This resulted in a very dramatic 64-foot-long clear-span steel beam that runs from the far side of the covered terrace to the corner of the bedroom wing, parallel to the window wall.”
Each of the eight panels of glass measures 6 feet by 11 feet.
The impressive wall of glass, a combination of a Series 600 Window Wall
and a Series 600 Sliding Glass Door
, features eight panels measuring 6 feet wide by 11 feet each. The assembly lets in tons of natural light and provides maximum energy efficiency, thanks to thermally broken aluminum frames.
The homeowners wanted unimpeded views of the river.
On the far end of the four-bedroom home is a master suite featuring a floor-to-ceiling windows as well as access to the riverbank. The master bath is a sight to behold, with its glass-encased walk-in shower, dual vanities, and large soaking tub.
“While not being a particularly large house, the siting, scale and proportions, materials, details, and craftsmanship are paramount.” Johnny Hirsch, principal, Place
The architect did away with supporting columns and replaced them with a 64-foot clear-span steel beam.
Dark wood floors add to the beauty of the home, which includes a huge modern kitchen with a large island for socializing or prepping food and a dining table, all with a river view. Main access to the front home, on the street side, comes via a large glass Series 980 Pivot Door
But it’s the 52-foot window wall – nearly 600 square feet of glass – that is the crown jewel of the home. “It actually gives you a sense of being outside when you are inside the home,” Guess says. “It’s a very dramatic space and serves to highlight the experience between the home and the waterfront.”