the ‘caddy shack’ house nestles atop a challenging terrain
A home for a former professional golfer overlooking Austin, Texas, ‘Caddy Shack’ by Olson Kundig elegantly navigates the constraints of its challenging site. From the main entrance at the top of the hill, the landscape drops away almost immediately, morphing from a suburban neighborhood to a steep, rocky ravine. Reveling in this condition, the dwelling hovers over the rugged terrain to capture sweeping views of the surrounding landscape and Austin skyline beyond.
‘The heart of this project is the client. He was able to look beyond a challenging site and see that we had an opportunity to make something extraordinary. That sense of adventure and risk-taking really informed the spirit of the home. We were able to very surgically insert the house into the ravine, leaving the landscape in its natural state as much as possible’, shares Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA, Design Principal.
all images © Aaron Leitz (unless stated otherwise)
pushing ‘familiar materials and strategies to their extremes’
At the public, street-facing side of ‘Caddy Shack,’ an extended, low profile creates a bridge across the landscape, framing glimpses of the hillside below its central volume. Rusted steel siding harmonizes with the neutral colors of the surrounding brush and rocks and allows the home to balance dual impressions of strength and lightness.
To echo this expression, the team at Olson Kundig made room for a garage with clerestory windows capturing natural light. Inside it, a workstation provides dedicated space for the client to tune his clubs.
Meanwhile, a steel catwalk and custom entry door painted blue open onto a generous main living space, which features a full-height window wall overlooking the ravine. A hand-operated wheel allows the wall to partially lower and becomes a guardrail, with exposed counterweights celebrating this kinetic element. Unifying the attached kitchen and dining room is a custom light installation that illuminates and enlivens all at once.
‘Caddy Shack’ barely touches the terrain to keep the landscape as intact as possible
Throughout, wooden floors and ceilings are complemented by blackened steel accents, fostering a warm and comfortable interior. This environment easily transitions outwards where a generous deck with a pool and hot tub welcome owners. A thick panel of clear acrylic at the far end of the pool creates additional views of the water.
Moreover, an adjacent, cantilevering wing houses a powder room and study, as well as a custom staircase made of bent and hemmed steel with perforated panels. This treatment is repeated in the custom, built-in elements throughout the powder room and study, including a bent steel vanity and sink, trophy case, and desk.
offering expansive views from the private suites
And finally, a hallway and master suite just beyond frame expansive views and link to a narrow steel catwalk that extends over the ravine, providing a unique visual experience. Below the suite, a guest room takes advantage of the empty volume between home and hillside, hanging suspended from above. Additional spaces for guests on the upper-most level offer vistas across the roof of the master room to the city.
‘Caddy Shack pushes familiar materials and strategies to their extremes – the branching wings, the cantilever, the light touch on the land. This project tests our research and development efforts by exploring those outer limits’, concludes Tom Kundig.