Now in its tenth year, AIA Austin’s PERSPECTIVAS is an annual exhibit held in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month to showcase the work of Latino architects and designers. Open to professionals across the state, the exhibit is organized by the chapter’s Latinos in Architecture committee, with all proceeds going to the LiA Scholarship program benefitting young Latino students. While, in past years, the physical PERSPECTIVAS exhibit has travelled locally, expanding its reach, 2020’s pivot to virtual is making the latest iteration, entirely online, accessible to a much wider audience. PERSPECTIVASdosmil20 was unveiled on November 16 and is viewable through the end of February at aiaaustin.org.
Texas Architect selected the following three entries for the consideration of its readers.
801 Barton Springs
801 Barton Springs in Austin celebrates an urban connection to nature with three stacked, shifting volumes inspired by local overlapping stream systems. The upper portion, which hosts several office floors, is clad in glass and metal, representing a serene pool, as if at the top of a waterfall. Windows were placed to mitigate restrictive views, capture daylight, and frame unexpected moments, such as the surrounding creek. The middle section contains parking and is wrapped in concrete panels featuring a pattern that evokes water cascading over a limestone ledge. The lower volume contains a restaurant and lobby and represents a redirect of the cascade to unite with the urban streetscape to create a splash of activity, connectivity, and promise. The building includes numerous features aimed at reducing light pollution and the heat island effect, including high-performance glazing, LED lighting, vegetated rain gardens, rainwater harvesting, and bicycle parking with lockers and showers.
24FT3 (24-Foot Cube)
24FT3, the 24-Foot Cube, provides a template for constructing infill accessory dwelling units on average-sized single-family lots in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The goals of this design include affordability and a vision for working within the parameters of local residential construction labor. The house is located in a rural area populated by ranches, barns, and trailer homes, and the design avoids complicated details, allowing 24FT3 to be built using basic construction practices and relying solely on the local labor force. A compact cube with a footprint the size of a standard two-car garage, 24FT3 has 915 sf of usable space and is constructed as a four-ft-square grid with a post in the center and beams that hold up several spaces without walls — one for sleeping, one for working, and a bridge for walking around above the ground floor; only the bathrooms are enclosed. Windows and skylights team up to allow light in from all directions. The result is that this small volume feels airy and spacious.
Miró Rivera Architects
Located in hilly West Austin on a street that runs along a ridge, Vista Residence is laid out as a cross, with the horizontal axis defined by street access on one side and the view across the hillside to downtown on the other. The resulting quadrants demarcate four outdoor spaces: a private courtyard off the master suite, the main entertainment patio, a large yard surrounding a heritage oak tree, and an auto court. The exterior features concrete, concrete panel, and metal, and distinct roof profiles provide directionality. On the interior, a three-story, plate-steel staircase serves as a hinge point for the various programs. The main level includes open kitchen, dining, and living spaces designed for large gatherings. The lower floor, built partially into the hillside, consists of two bedrooms, a shared bath, and a media/game room. Upstairs, a private office, a sitting room, and an expansive balcony provide sweeping vistas of downtown Austin and the Hill Country.