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THE MAGAZINE FOR

C A P TA I N S O F I N D U S T RY

CONSTRUCTION LEADERS www.constructionleaderstoday.com

BIG IDEAS

ClaytonLevyLittle

This Fort Worth-based architecture firm tackles a variety of specialty architecture projects and has an amazing flair for bringing out the best in each and every project.

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BIG IDEAS The Austin-based firm of Clayton Levy Little Architects has the versatility and creativity to deliver unique and breathtaking projects again and again. By Rebecca Rodriguez

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he architects at Clayton Levy Little are masters at balancing. They can balance commercial and residential jobs that vary widely in scope and size. And they can balance creating delicate historical restorations with building modern, cutting-edge homes. A good example of their versatility is the firm’s own building, a carefully restored Victorian set beside the Pushard residence, one of the firm’s dramatic and modern creations. The company’s main areas of focus are design/build, historic preservation, and commercial architecture. It creates about 40 percent residential and 60 percent commercial. “We work on projects of all sizes and types. This project mix keeps creativity fresh and allows our firm to present a unique perspective,” said Paul Clayton, one of two partners. The commercial work ranges from small remodels to several million dollars in construction cost. Residential work ranges from $200,000 to $1 million. Annual architecture billings average $900,000. Annual construction billings average $990,000.

1-2. Monroe Street House, Austin, Texas. A modest remodel and addition for a couple, a writer and his wife, a professor, this project was phased in two parts to allow for the birth of the couple’s first child. Phase 1 is a standing seam-clad addition to the existing house that juts out into the rear yard, taking cues from certain trees and landscape features. The remainder of the addition is wrapped in stained cedar siding that flows seamlessly onto the attached deck and surrounds the precast concrete dipping pool. Paint colors create a lively palette that, even from the street, provides clues of what the backyard holds. Phase two takes continues this bold color palette into the existing house. The kitchen was completely made over, with concrete countertops and floor to ceiling windows looking out to the addition. The existing bedrooms and bathroom were reconfigured to make the spaces more useful.

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3 3-4. Garlic Creek Clubhouse, Buda, Texas. Housing a meeting room exercise facility, snack bar, restrooms, swimming pools, and an outdoor pavilion with fireplace, the building provides amenities for residents of a new housing development south of Austin. The modern design juxtaposes durable materials including weathering steel for fences and doors, metal roofing, with sand stone exterior and traditional shed forms to evoke traditional rural Texas vernacular. Deep overhangs provide shaded porches around the lap pool and adjacent kiddie pool and shield interiors from direct sun. Generous windows and use of glass allow for easy indoor-outdoor connections, reinforcing the sense of community. Landscaping using native, drought resistant plants reduces water usage for the surrounding park area.

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The company, based in bustling Austin, Texas, mostly completes work that is in-state. Its design-build construction projects are mainly located in central Austin. “The character of old Austin evolving to embrace new generations and viewpoints without losing its authenticity; historic buildings reborn and happily coexisting with modern forward-looking structures,” the firm’s website stated. Little started her firm in 1983. She worked almost exclusively on residential remodels. Clayton began working for Emily Little Architects in 2001. While studying for his architecture exams, Clayton became reacquainted with Texas Tech classmate Stephen Levy. Clayton and Levy opened Clayton Levy Architects in 2003 and began taking commercial and residential projects. In 2006, Clayton and Levy purchased Little’s company to form a new firm with broader historic, commercial, and design/build capabilities. Since its inception, Clayton Levy Little Architects has had opportunities to work on several exciting projects such as: Mack Dick Group Pavilion in Palo Duro Canyon, Rockport Community Center in Rockport, and IBEW Headquarters in Galveston.

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The pavilion in Palo Duro state park is slated to be level three LEED certified. Building eco-friendly is important to the firm and the pavilion will be built of recycled materials, including stone that will be gathered locally. The building is clean-lined and modern looking. It is also oriented to take advantage of seasonal breezes. Rockport Community Center will be a community recreation center featuring a weight room and racquetball court. “It’s a fun project to work on and has its own budget and design challenges,” Clayton said. “It involves finding materials that can be put together in an interesting and affordable way.” IBEW Headquarters is a union building for electrical workers. The headquarters had been damaged during Hurricane Ike. The building is being rebuilt by the firm on the existing site. Clayton said the building is being done in a modern style with ceramic glazed brick, glass, and steel on the exterior. The materials were chosen because they’re low-maintenance, not easily damaged, and remain clean. Due to future hurricane threats, the mechanical equipment is situated in the attic. The firm’s customers are state and local municipalities, private developers, and homeowners. Fall 2010 5


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“We pride ourselves in our ability to listen carefully to our clients and react to their specific needs,” Clayton said. The full-service firm does whatever it takes to act in the project’s best interest. “We provide timely and precise reactions to the challenges of design and construction in a way that our clients can easily understand. The design/build approach allows us to control the quality, price, and schedule of our projects without the additional dynamic of a general contractor,” he said. The firm does not advertise in print publications. Levy spends the majority of his time promoting and networking with other industry professionals. The company aspires to have their work on local home tours and relies heavily on word-of-mouth advertising. The firm has seen steady growth. It is the result of the division of tasks among the partners and a talented staff, Clayton said. The partners give enough responsibility to their employees to allow them the opportunity to be involved in high-level decisions. This fosters growth and buy-in at the same time, Clayton said. Frequently, “lunch and learns” are held at the office. Employees take part in ou -of -office learning opportunities as well. Levy is responsible for the majority of the marketing for the firm. Little is responsible for marketing and design, and Clayton is respon5-6. St. Cecilia, Austin, Texas. ClaytonLevyLittle transformed this site with its centerpiece 1888-vintage Victorian mansion (recognized by Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission as the Miller-Crockett House) and six magnificent Live Oaks into an oasis for this boutique hotel. The plan preserves the park-like space in the middle of the site, a deliberate nod to the original rhythms of the neighborhood. The Live Oaks provided the framework for siting four new buildings to complement the renovated mansion, which was converted into five suites. Three sleek new structures were placed on the site’s downhill end to frame the swimming pool and part of the garage was used in the new central building that houses three suites, the lounge, and office. Muted neutral tones help the new buildings blend into the background and define the perimeter of the grounds.

M-D CUSTOM WOOD FLOORS M-D Custom Wood Floors, Inc has enjoyed a long standing relationship with Clayton, Levy, and Little Architects. Paying close attention to details and being environmentally sensitive keeps them at the top of their game. Meetings are held often to keep everyone well informed. M-D Custom Wood Floors considers it a pleasure to work with Clayton, Levy and Little Architects.

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“We provide timely and precise reactions to the challenges of design and construction in a way that our clients can easily understand. The design/build approach allows us to control the quality, price, and schedule of our projects without the additional dynamic of a general contractor.” sible for the majority of design. He also heads up the construction arm of the company. Clayton and Levy both hold master’s degrees from Texas Tech University. Little holds a master’s degree from the University of Texas. All three architects are registered and Little is a member of the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. Clayton is a LEED accredited professional (LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is regulated by the US Green Building Council). Levy is an active member of the Real Estate Council of Austin. Clayton said the firm is optimistic that the economic recovery will soon spur new growth and subsequent real estate development. “We will have to wait until money starts flowing again and the supply of empty space is filled before activity returns to pre-recession levels,” Clayton said. Looking into the future, Clayton said he would like to see the development of their own projects, specifically small commercial buildings. “We’d like to be our own client. Develop a building and hold it for lease. That’s been a goal of ours,” Clayton said, referring to his partner, Levy. Clayton Levy Little can build with both a delicate touch and forceful fashion. Its projects range from elegant historic renovations to gritty and rough union buildings. It is this broad range of talent and capabilities that make this firm unique and strong in its city hub tucked in the heart of Texas. CLT 7. Aspen Project. 8. Newning House. All photos courtesy of ClaytonLevy Little Architects.

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TODAY

Clayton Levy Little Architects  

This Fort Worth-based architecture firm tackles a variety of specialty architecture projects and has an amazing flair for bringing out the b...

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