Lago Vista, TX
Replacing a subdivision originally planned for low density single family homes, this new configuration of condominium homes represents a model for inhabiting the landscape with minimum intrusiveness from buildings and infrastructure while maintaining the privacy and convenience of single family homes. The design of Waterstone, a new community on the north shore of Lake Travis in Central Texas, was driven by the characteristics of its site and its program to create an unusual merger of landscape and living.
Five priorities guided the design. First, the topography determined where buildings would be sited. In order to minimize cut and fill and disruption of plant material, structures are strung along a single contour where land slope is the shallowest. They wrap around a soft bulge in the landforms reinforcing the natural shape of the hill. Second, all units face strongly to the south and to spectacular views of the water and the lake. All living rooms and all master bathrooms are oriented to the long view and ideal natural light condition.
Third, parking and roads are tightly clustered around the units. Many of the homes have attached garages accessed off nicely-scaled car courts between units. Additional parking is nestled into the thicket of trees to the north of the buildings. There are never large expanses of parking (though plenty of spaces are provided). Open parking is configured in twos and threes to save existing trees and maintain the sense of being in a natural environment.
Fourth, unit designs maximize a sense of openness and connectedness to the outdoors. Rooms are large and interlocked with generous expanses of sun-shaded glass providing expansive views. All units have large patios or outdoor decks conveniently accessible from living areas.
Fifth, materials and colors are selected for their harmony with the local landscape and for their reflection of the character of Central Texas. A local fieldstone is laid in long horizontal bands like the strata of rock on the site. The weathered grey of the wood and the deep greens of painted surfaces are intended to make the buildings merge gracefully with colors and textures of the site.
“Translating the ‘Outdoor Room’ Concept for Apartment Living,” by Lawrence W. Speck. Multi-Housing News, January 2012.