“What I love about this project is that it’s a minimal intervention into the landscape. … It’s almost a surprise as you’re walking through the forest, walking through nature, and you find these very sophisticated interiors that still show off the natural carving of the tunnel.”
— Douglass Alligood, AIA, NOMA

Location Texas Hill Country
Architect Clayton Korte
Design Team Brian Korte, FAIA, Camden Greenlee, AIA, Josh Nieves, Brandon Tharp
Contractor Monday Builders
Structural Engineer SSG Structural Engineers
Mechanical Engineer Positive Energy
Civil Engineer Intelligent Engineering
Lighting Designer Studio Lumina
Interiors & Landscape Design Clayton Korte

An existing, excavated cave flanked by tall oak and elm trees was converted into a wine cellar and lounge that nearly disappear into the native landscape. As the cave was neither water-tight nor necessarily designed for this intent, the architects inserted a human-scaled, more delicate wooden module into the volume of the excavation, avoiding physical interaction with the cave wall. A bulkhead was used to restrain the loose limestone at the cave mouth and provide a predictable surface to wed the insert. Simple, rich regional materials were chosen for practicality and minimal maintenance, and since the space would be sporadically occupied, demands on environmental systems were reduced by lowering the temperature delta between the building envelope and cave.

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