Nine Houston-area homes selected by a jury of industry experts to represent the finest in new residential architecture are on display this weekend as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Houston presents its 2015 Annual Home Tour.
All of the homes on the tour are located within the Houston metropolitan area, designed by an AIA architect, and completed within the last five years.
The self-guided tour represents "a spectrum of what is happening now — from traditional to modern, 750-square-feet to 7,500-square-feet, renovation to new construction — and show how these can be wonderfully different and yet each can be revered," says explains home tour chairman Benjamin Perry.
The full tour ($25) and single house ($10) tickets can be purchased at any of the participating houses during tour hours — noon to 6 pm on October 24 and 25 — and are good both days of the tour.
(CultureMap readers who purchase advance tickets can get a 40 percent break by purchasing tickets here with promo code CM2FOR30. The offer expires Thursday, October 22, at midnight.)
Get an inside look at the homes:
Kipling House, 1504 Kipling Street
The Kipling Residence is a new and modern yet serene addition to the Montrose neighborhood just north of the Menil Collection. Designed for a growing family of five, it allows for generous open family zones oriented to large glass walls facing the street and a courtyard swimming pool.
Fixed wood slats provide privacy on the first floor, while a large sliding second-floor panel allows the street balcony to exchange privacy control with the study.
Iris Lee House, 11333 Iris Lee Lane
Quiet and unassuming, this private Memorial-area residence integrates the hard and rigid — brick, glass, steel, metal panels and cypress — with the malleable: ponds as greeters and landscape companions, organic plantings and framed views of nature and her moods.
The exterior massing volumes of the house disguise the spaciousness of the interior where boundaries, planes and corners seamlessly weave in and out.
At almost 9,000 square feet, the residence includes an inviting double-height living space with expanses of sliding glass walls, a spoke of secondary bedrooms off the main living area, another spoke for entertaining with an open kitchen/family room complemented by a summer kitchen and lanai, and a master retreat on the entire second floor with a private terrace overlooking the lap pool and tennis court.
4111 Drummond Street
Lars Bang AIA, among the first of the University of Houston College of Architecture graduates, designed the Bendit House in 1952. Heralded by local and national media and featured on the Contemporary Arts Museum’s Modern House Tour Six, it was forgotten as one-story ranch houses that originally surrounded it were replaced by mega mansions.
The house represents and yet transcends its time and place with a design that showcases the optimistic tenets of early Modernism. Even though it is more than 60 years old, it is futuristic enough to be mistakenly identified as contemporary construction.
A variety of textures and finishes creates an overall sense of calm and welcome, while the home’s architectural scale and proportions give it drama. Simplicity abounds with continuous surface planes and materials from exterior to interior and an uncommon, total absence of trim and moulding.
A complete roof replacement with contemporary materials allowed for vastly improved energy efficiency and weather resistance. Inside, original paneling and millwork were stripped of paint and restored to finishes of tinted stain, and a new plywood ceiling was installed throughout to match original layout and finish.
The restored house offers lessons beyond historic context, with sustainable residential design: energy efficiency via passive solar strategies, right-sized programming and aging-in-place suitability.
Goldsmith House, 2235 Goldsmith
Murphy Mears Architects
Located on a small lot in an older neighborhood, this new home provides a strong connection to the outdoors to enhance the owner's interests in entertaining, gardening and music. Exterior materials include face brick and stucco on the front, fitting in with nearby houses. The brick wing, capped by a roof deck, defines the public and private outdoor spaces.
Guests are directed into the house by a subtle diagonal line in the auto court and entry that continues into the garden and beyond to the reflecting pool. A cast concrete stepping stone floats in the pool water, linking the interior to the garden outside.
Living and dining areas share an open space with the kitchen but are delineated by a free-standing cabinet passthrough feature that provides multiple framed views.The baby grand piano placed in the bay window projects outside to large Corten steel raised planter boxes.
Grace House, 5906 Grace Lane
M+A Architecture Studio
This house began as a 560-square-foot exploration in small scale living, intended as a single bedroom starter home. After completing the original design, the owners learned they were expecting a baby. A second bedroom / bathroom was developed as a second phase, bringing the overall size up to 990 square feet. Other children have since come along and the house is currently home for a family of five, living in a small, hyper-efficient space.
As the project exists today, it is a complete reinterpretation, adaptation and radical transformation of one small house into another, slightly larger, small house – reframing and repurposing the intent and design of the original building. New concrete cast in place, steel and glass complement the original building and are connected via a floating glass bridge element that is used as a library and reading room.
Located in a transitional inner city neighborhood, this house is an infill project on an older street of post-World War II small asbestos-shingle-clad houses. It is the third small house project within a small, experimental garden setting minutes from downtown Houston.
Expansive windows open the house to the north, flooding it with daylight. Lower scale windows to the south extend the view of the living spaces into the landscape. Fine materials and construction systems are used throughout the house, but in very limited manner. The design goal is to provide quality of space and material refinement rather than pure quantity.
Terraces at Palm, 1525 and 1521 Palm Street
A corner lot on a wide oak-lined boulevard in the Houston Museum District created an opportunity to allow for street-front terraces and a unique floor plan for each unit. Double height spaces, split-level living rooms and monochromatic interiors are all packaged into a LEED certified design (pending completion).
The six townhomes are grouped into pairs of interlocking volumes reflected by two opposing stucco finishes, a natural grey and a painted white. The joining of these volumes are then further articulated with a dark bronze anodized strip of windows and aluminum panels.
Openings within these blocks are created by carving in and pushing out of the stucco envelope. Windows are then grouped between adjacent rooms, floors and the neighboring unit to create larger overall openings within the exterior skin. This achieved a grander scale within the individual apertures and the massing of the building.
Kane House, 2219 Kane Street
Located in Houston’s Sixth Ward Historic District, 2219 Kane was built in the 1880s. Originally located at 2314 Kane, the house was relocated in 2014 to a prominent entry point to the neighborhood.
Unoccupied since the death of its long-time owner, the structure was in a state of severe neglect when acquired by the present owner.
The house serves as an office and guest house for the owner whose other small Sixth Ward home has no guest accommodations. The house is a mere 751 square feet plus the exterior porches.
The restoration and renovation retains the original plan of the home but makes discrete interventions to help the space function in a more contemporary way.
The missing front porch was reconstructed from old photographs using vintage columns. A side porch – enclosed in the 1890s to make more interior space – was restored, allowing views to the west. An operable skylight was located at the center of the structure to bring light into the library area.
Aurora Duo House, 1134 Aurora Street
This two-story hybrid between a townhouse and a custom house exemplifies efficiently programmed living spaces, complementary outdoor balconies, clean lines and sensible material selections for the exterior and interior.
The plan includes an open concept kitchen-dining-living space with a patio and small green space. The upper floor includes a flex space, two bedrooms, a master suite and balconies overlooking the street and yard.
Heights Integral Urban Homestead, 312 E. 27th Street
Environment Associates Architects & Consultants
The Height’s Integral Urban Homestead is a private residence designed for a couple with a desire to live in a healthy, stress-reduced and sustainably responsible manner inside Houston’s inner loop.
This Registered LEED Platinum home has many energy-saving features while aesthetically honoring the Houston Heights historic architectural roots.
It features a rainwater harvesting system that provides 100 percent of year-round household and landscaping needs andIs designed with landscaping to be mostly 100 per cent edible.
The home is designed to deliver reasonable comfort year-round, even without power. A linear cupola induces natural ventilative cooling and delightful natural daylighting. Natural breezes produced by the cupola can provide natural cooling during overheated days whenever desired. The private backyard porch can use the entry as a breezeway to enhance outdoor living, while pocket doors allow the home’s interior to remain fully conditioned when desired.
Porches, awning roofs and deep overhangs provide shade in overheated seasons and allow open windows and porch usage during rainstorms. Designed-in cross ventilation throughout the home and purposely positioned porches and windows allow additional months of living naturally without having to use mechanical systems.