The design shall take advantage of the dramatic panoramic views of the surrounding Texas Hill Country and distant city views.

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Photo Wood Residence Nightime

Wood Residence

The House of Ten Gables - Westlake Hills, Texas
4,400 square feet originally
6,000 square feet (including additions)

Project Description

Design a view oriented, passive solar custom residence, for a young couple, on their severely sloping lot in Austin, Texas. The design shall take advantage of the dramatic panoramic views of the surrounding Texas Hill Country and distant city views. The task given to the architect by the clients was that the design solution be contemporary, yet not ostentatious; dramatic, yet sensitive and appropriate to its site.


Design Parameters

  • The one-acre, extremely sloped, wooded lot has 80 feet of topographic change from front to back.
  • The steep slope necessitates a drip irrigation septic system.
  • 180-degree views face west, north and east.
  • Capturing the prevailing breezes for cooling, the integration of deep overhangs and covered outdoor areas for the shading of the interior and the acceptance of low winter sun angles for passive heating are desirable.


Design Concept

  • A faceted linear, 2 story design solution is selected to maximize the views and follow the slope contours.
  • The middle of the lot is selected for the house site because it is less steep than the top or bottom.
  • The two story verandahs on the east and west encourage natural ventilation, take advantage of the views, provide shading to the living areas and contribute desirable outdoor living areas.
  • Locating the pool at the front of the house renders easy access and a natural, inviting setting that contributes to the view from the house.
  • The upper level great room, surrounded by glass on three sides and wrapped by a verandah and a roof terrace, contains the main living area, family room and breakfast. A 24 foot long SMART GLASS ridge skylight adds further to the natural day lighting of this multi-purpose space, without contributing to heat gain.
  • Additions to this residence were easily attained by enclosing a portion of the large verandahs to include additional family room space for an expanding family, additional walk–in–closet space and additional office space.

This project was recognized by the American Institute of Architects in 1996 and selected to be in the Austin Chapter AIA Homes Tour.

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Main Entry: ga·ble
Pronunciation: 'gA-b&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse gafl gable -- more at CEPHALIC
1 a : the vertical triangular end of a building from cornice or eaves to ridge b : the similar end of a gambrel roof c : the end wall of a building
2 : a triangular part or structure

Main Entry: ce·phal·ic
Pronunciation: s&-'fa-lik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle French céphalique, from Latin cephalicus, from Greek kephalikos, from kephalE head; akin to Old High German gebal skull, Old Norse gafl gable, Tocharian A spAl head
1 : of or relating to the head
2 : directed toward or situated on or in or near the head



Wood Residence Interior
Wood Residence

Gable in Architecture

"In architecture a gable is the vertical triangular portion of the end of a building, from the level of the cornice or eaves to the ridge of the roof."