Texan Studio Lake Flato Architects clads in weathering steel the River Bend Residence located north of San Antonio, in New Braunfels city, in the Texas Hill Country region. The natural setting of the location, which is known for its German heritage, cultural activities, and two rivers, informed the architectural design.

The team placed the home on a wooded perch overlooking the Guadalupe River so it sits lightly upon the land, thus minimizing disruption to the land and trees. The house was built for a retired couple who wanted a home with efficient use of space and the “right size for their current lifestyle.”

The couple are avid travelers who love to document their experiences and have lived in a larger family residence for years. For their home, they wanted to downsize in storage capacity but want a space that can accommodate their daily routine. Thus, the studio designed the main dwelling of the River Bend Residence as two detached buildings loosely organized around a courtyard.

The buildings feature tall, pyramidal hipped roofs with large skylights at the tip and Corten steel cladding that’s known for its robustness and minimal maintenance. Meanwhile, the interiors boast ceilings that reach as high as 26 feet and fixtures come in a mix of Douglas fir wood, walnut, and white oak and plaster and concrete finishes.

The main dwelling consists of a square and rectangular volume linked by a glazed breezeway with one hosting the dining area, living room, and kitchen and the other a bedroom suite. A portion of the dwelling is lifted from the ground by concrete piers to minimize excavation. 

The detached buildings house a carport and an art studio with the latter also doubling as a guest room. “Only the back third of the buildings on the sloping portion of the site sit on grade, and these areas were carefully located to minimize the number of trees that needed to be removed in construction,” the team said revealing that only six trees were removed to build all four structures of the River Bend Residence out of respect for the abundant wildlife habitat in the area.

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Images courtesy of Lake Flato