Celebrating Austin

“Why do you live in Austin?” was a question asked of every homeowner, architect and DWR employee featured in our June book, and their answers were all about two things: beauty and people. For some, it’s the many downtown parks and trails surrounding Lady Bird Lake and the Colorado River. For others, it’s the friendly neighbors, down-to-earth vibe and the one-finger (not that finger) wave of passing drivers. Every person mentioned art, music and breakfast tacos. Of course, this is real life, and it’s not all puppies and rainbows here, but this place makes people happy. Or is it that happy people make this place?

Either way, we were smitten. We were also fascinated by the fact that there’s no typical Austin house, and no house is a bigger celebration of that than the former residence of the late architect, writer and educator Charles Moore. The house, which is a compound of several structures, was created with his business partner, Arthur Andersson, who also lived here.

Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin (2015) at the Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin. Artist-designed building with installation of stained-glass windows, black-and white marble panels and redwood totem. Photo courtesy of Victoria Sambunaris, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation.
Interior of the Arthur Andersson House at the Moore/Andersson Compound. Photo by Oberto Gili, courtesy of Andersson-Wise Architects.

“Rather than buying a house and destroying it, Charles loved working with what was already there,” says Charles Moore Foundation Director Kevin Keim. “He’d attack it like an archaeologist and peel things away, doing a process he called ‘selective erasure.’ At the same time, he’d be adding things, creating this sense of layering in time, space and materials.”

Another DWR favorite was Ellsworth Kelly’s Austin at the Blanton Museum of Art. Stained-glass windows on three facades work with the sun to transform the serene interior into a light show. Kelly gifted the plans for this structure – his only building – to the city in 2015. Sadly, the artist passed away a few months later and never saw it completed.

Patrick Dougherty’s Yippee Ki Yay sculptures in Pease Park, made entirely of tangled sticks and saplings. Photo courtesy of Molly Winters.
Deep Eddy, founded in 1915, the oldest pool in Texas. Over the years, swimmers have been treated to silent movies, a diving horse, a diving baby, zip lines and a 70' slide. Photo courtesy of Hannah Borgeson.

Two miles from the Blanton is the recently completed Austin Central Library, designed by Lake Flato Architects. This natural light-filled community gathering spot features a six-story atrium and several reading porches overlooking Lady Bird Lake.

We shot the catalog at seven different homes, each a celebration of the many ways you can live with modern design. The architects of these stunning structures include Michael Hsu, Pollen Architecture and Design, Shane Pavonetti and A.D. Stenger, who’s often referred to as the “Eichler of Austin.”

To learn more about the houses and homeowners featured in our June catalog, pick up a copy at your local DWR Studio or read the e-catalog online.

Home designed by architect Shane Pavonetti in 2016. These homeowners treated our crew to a crawfish boil. Austin hospitality rocks.
Home designed by architect Michael Hsu in 2013. Located on a river in Texas Hill Country, it showcases Hsu’s ability to maintain a strong connection to the outdoors.
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