The porch is more than a transitional zone between inside and outside – it’s a place unto itself that combines the best of both to create a space both literal and conceptual. And the architects of Lake|Flato have used the idea to great effect in this three-part family compound in Central Texas, where porches and breezeways connect the dwelling units in a manner that keeps you ever a part of that intertidal area – the middle of a Venn diagram.
Lake|Flato calls these elements “tissues” for the way they attach one thing to another, and the way they’re laid out at the Miller Porch House brings the concept to life.
“Porch House, with a uniquely adaptable design and construction process, enables its inhabitants to be a partner with the environment,” they said, “in a house shaped by the climate and place, where the landscape and rooms are a unified whole.”
The structures are for the most part factory built and trucked to the site, while the porches are constructed once the buildings are in place. This approach keeps costs down, reduces waste, and helps the cabins achieve LEED certification. Lake|Flato has nine modular designs that can be pieced together and adapted to fit an individual’s needs, and the detailing in its library of options, from window overhangs to flooring, is nearly endless.
With the Porch House, the owners “wanted to build an easily maintained weekend house for friends and family that would celebrate the outdoors. The rooms, a master bedroom connected to the living area via a ‘dog run’ breezeway and separate guest bedrooms and carport, are arranged to take advantage of the expansive views while creating a protected courtyard within the compound. A one room-wide configuration, with an east-west axis and generous overhangs, maximizes daylighting and views while keeping the sun at bay. The generous ten-foot tall operable windows and doors, porches and breezeways allow the rooms to take advantage of the cool coastal breezes during pleasant times of the year.”
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.