The red barn located in a rural subdivision southwest of Austin is the primary residence for a young family of four. Despite a limited budget, the house incorporates the unique and whimsical design elements for which Lawrence's work is known. Materials were carefully selected for durability and aesthetics as well as sustainability and then applied creatively to create this unexpected building.

The design is reminiscent of traditional barns and rural vernacular. Despite its simple form, each of the building's four sides is unique, responding to the home's siting and the room functions within. The roof line on the south side is extended to accommodate a large screened porch (essentially creating an additional living room), adding unexpected visual drama to the essentially symmetrical volume.

This house is a conscious composition of the skin elements and the structural elements. Hardiplank panels create horizontal shadows that are complemented by the vertical galvanized metal strips that break up the volume and define its edges. The constant movement of light and shadow along the simple volume animates the façade.

Windows are placed outside of a systematic plan to balance the exterior composition or to bring light or specific views to a particular interior. The act as punched openings in the skin that from the inside replicate artworks hung on the plain interior walls, capturing a piece of sky, a particular branch, and constantly changing vignettes of outdoor life.

Office Project Team: Mell Lawrence, Charlotte Pease & Krista Whitson

Contractor: Pilgrim Building Company

Structural Engineer: Smith Structural Engineers

Kitchen cabinets: Joe Zambrano

© Mell Lawrence Architects 2013
© Hester + Hardaway Photographers 2006