Texas Architect May/June 2007: San Antonio
Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other editorial content largely written by AIA members in Texas. That collective participation was the basis of Texas Architect’s recognition by the national AIA with a 2010 Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement.
texas architect 42 5/6 2007 JUST south of downtown San Antonio, nestled together within a few blocks on Lavaca Street are limestone dogtrots, wooden bungalows, and a few newcomers, including three regional modernist courtyard houses. It is a street of houses with good bones; some newly transformed, some restored more than a decade ago and a few still ripe for a keen eye and some elbow grease. Candid Rogers, AIA, a San Antonio-based architect, had passed by the vacant one-story house at 218 Lavaca and conjectured that under the plaster surface, concrete porch, and metal tube columns was a thick-walled, pure volume limestone building. “I grew up in Medina County and Castroville is full of limestone cottages similar to what this house appeared to be,” Rogers says. Rogers approached the neighbors, the Yznaga family, who turned out to be the owners of the home. “I told them that if they were ever interesting in selling or even renting the house,” he recalls, “I’d like to know.” Roughly a later, he received a phone call. The house, originally composed of two rooms totaling 492 square feet, also included a full basement and a small kitchen that had been added to the back. According to probate records, the house was built for August Nestor Maximilian Mannewitz and wife Bertha who had immigrated to San Antonio from Germany in 1871 and bought the property that same year. A deed of trust to lumberman Edward Steves in 1873 offers the best evidence of a construction date. The house changed hands several times and in the 1930s the lot was subdivided front to back. Owned by the Yznaga family for more than 30 years, the house served as a rental property most of that time, but sat vacant the last five years before Rogers purchased it. The major restoration effort began, logically, at the foundation of the historic structure. Roots of a large pecan tree had pushed in the front foundation wall. Rogers consulted with engineer Dar- rell Lehmann, who suggested building reinforced concrete walls as a backer to the existing front and back walls of the house, and re-assembling the massive limestone block walls. Rogers also by Laurie ZapaLac Found Object project Casa 218, San Antonio client Withheld by request architect Candid Rogers Architect design team Candid Rogers, AIA; Gonzalo Fraga; Ayuko Hishikawa consultants Lehmann Engineering photographer Chris Cooper