It’s been a few years since we graduated from college (exactly how many, I will keep to myself!), and it’s been fun to see several of our friends from architecture school go on to do their own thing. One friend, Hilary Scruggs, recently completed a housing project in San Antonio, TX, and I’m honored to feature her beautiful project here. What I appreciate most is the contrast between the persona of the houses at night and during the day. In daylight, the houses are very private, with an aluminum screen that sheathes the home and conceals almost entirely the daily activities going on inside. Though the aluminum screen seems opaque, the interior is very light, and the occupant is provided with great views of the outside. At night the exterior of the houses come alive as portions of the building are lit up from inside.
Consisting of two units of 1500 sf each, Biering was conceived as a prototype for sustainable and affordable urban living. The idea was not merely to integrate sustainable features into a contemporary-style home but create a design icon in the process; the thesis being to go beyond “eco-chic” to create an “eco-icon”.
The defining feature of the project is a diaphanous aluminum screen which envelopes the homes, providing shade, security, and privacy during the day while illuminating at night. The screen conceals conventional patio doors on both floors that offer cross-ventilation as well as expansive views of downtown. The screen utilizes continuous 20″ panels of perforated aluminum and the decking material, Trex, which was milled into battens that create an air gap between the screen and the building.
Mixing prefabricated components – like standard windows and IKEA cabinets – with simple but highly custom assemblies out of economical materials (aluminum, knotty pine plywood) – kept costs down while creating the look and feel of a more high-end home. The interiors are conceived to maximize flexibility and customization for an occupant, while lending a sense of warmth and comfort to the overall design.
All photos courtesy of Bailey Porter.