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Boathouse Condos

Austin, TX UTSOA - Dean Almy/ Elizabeth Danze Studio 2004

Plan - Level 3

Provided with a small embankment on Lady Bird Lake, our task was to develop a residential structure with 4 condo units, parking, and a boating/fitness center. The site had many variables acting on it. Contextually, it was bound by an existing multistory housing development to the south, a rather highly traveled road on the east, a public boat slip to the north, and of course the lake to the west. Additionally, the site had roughly 15’ of vertical drop from Lake Austin Boulevard to the lake itself, as well as an artificial cove formed by the boat dock of the adjacent multifamily development and a finger of property alongside the public slip. Given the dramatic difference of amenity on each side of the property, the decision was made to attempt to allow each unit a piece of every site adjacency. Rather than having a mix of units, some better than others, the goal was to have residences that benefitted uniformly from each aspect of the site surroundings. Additionally, it was desirable to have a more private outdoor area for the residents, removed from the lively public space nearby. This, in conjunction with the distribution of site adjacencies, led to a design in which several distinct zones were built around the perimeter of the site, creating a shielded courtyard within.

Plan - Level 2

The entry to the project is through a private garage that is open to the lake on one side, and ringed by residential entries to the east and south. These spaces are primarily small offices or guest bedrooms, lit by clerestory windows off the courtyard above the garage structure. After entering underground, residents then walk up enclosed, but expressed stairways, glazed with frosted glass on the courtyard side, to the loft section of their unit which are ringed by balconies framed with sliding polycarbonate panels for varying degrees of privacy and light. This level provides primarily living spaces that have access to daylight on both two sides, one facing the private courtyard and the other of the large oak trees within the public boat ramp. The stairways connecting the lower portion with the loft spaces become structural elements, supporting the loft volume, as well as defining aesthetic devices; counteracting the mass of the primarily cast in place concrete structure through an expression of lightness. From these loft areas, each unit has a space that faces down river, providing every resident with spectacular views of the lake. Finally, the boathouse is expressed as a glazed volume, directly on the water, from which residents can launch their crafts.

Plan - Level 1

Portfolio 2016  

Cory Boden

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