The last of five structures standing on a parcel of land subdivided to construct a new residence – is the lone survivor of a 1920's era compound that anchored the corner of a prominent Alamo Heights neighborhood. A rare example of the classic "one room wide" residences that predated air conditioning would be restored to its former glory as a duplex apartment. The upper floor converted into a "Sunday House" or weekend home for the new owner, a contractor who displays his great sense of craft restoring many of the homes throughout the neighborhood.
The challenge was to provide additional indoor living space without compromising the views/natural lighting of the narrow L-shaped floor plan layout amid the heritage "live oak tree mott" covered site. A new two-story glass living room tower was inserted at the inside corner of the L-shaped plan expanding/energizing both floor levels of the existing public and private spaces while providing a "tree house feeling" and views to the southern courtyard. This two-story "lantern-like" form coupled with a new 3-car bay parking pavilion defines the ground level courtyard which expands into the pavilion for additional outdoor entertaining space for the ground floor living unit
A rooftop mirador provides the upper level unit with its own private outdoor room space and includes a bbq kitchen with distant views of the downtown skyline. Private entries for the upper unit are provided by two sculptural arched stucco staircases. The newest stair - a mirror of the original - also functions as the end wall of the new parking/party pavilion with storage below whose shape supports an entry bridge to the upper floor unit that overlooks the lower courtyard below. The project provides a restrained but lively and modern dialogue with the historic context of the neighborhood.
Sustainable design elements include:
- Recapturing the embodied energy of an existing structure
- Low-e insulated glazing with solar shading arbor overhangs
- Spray foam insulation package
- High efficiency Mini-Split mechanical systems
- Reclaimed materials- including clay tile roof/wood flooring - salvaged from other remodeling projects
Principle: John J. Grable FAIA
Project Team: Matt Martinez, Luis Vargas
General Contractor: Truax Construction
Photographer: John J. Grable FAIA & Dror Baldinger AIA
Type: Duplex, Two-Family Residence
Location: Alamo Heights
San Antonio, TX 78902
Building Area: 3,900 SQ. FT.
Status: Built October 2011