austin architecture: Harwell Hamilton Harris' Cranfill Apartments (1959)

Harwell Hamilton Harris, a student of Richard Neutra's who worked on the Lovell Health House, served as the head of the architecture department at The University of Texas at Austin. While in Austin, he designed a couple places including the Cranfill Apartments in 1959.

We were able to tour the Cranfill Apartments several years ago and see two units, and they are quite special. I'm not a fan of tunnel apartments (windows on one side and, if you are lucky, on the opposite), but Harris expertly addressed the challenge by creating a two-story east-facing window wall that glazes upon a garden.

This perfectly-decorated unit, lovingly photographed by Patrick Wong for TVOA, is stunning (and available for $495K!).


a destructive stroll through the neighborhood

With homes starting to go for over a million bucks in our hood (one just down the street!), it's not surprising that more and more of the original mid-century modernish homes are meeting the dozer. The photo above is of a house a few lots south of us fixin' to get scraped. That makes us a little sad because wethinks this house, in part, inspired the design of ours (the long horizontal line across the facade, the carport, the limestone wall, the clerestory windows). The neighborhood is, more and more, in transition with a mix of scrapes replaced with suburban boohoo, farmhouse modern, and, in a precious few places, modern. 

The place below is a few houses to the north and is appearing to be a sympathetic updating of an MCM-ish house (the same company is updating another house just around the corner). 

This place is just two houses across the street from us and is a radical remodel fantastically done. Sooper hip and sooper fun:

With this place and a couple more contemporaries down our street, we like to think we provided a green light for Modern in this area. 

Austin has gone crazy for farmhouse modern. I'd call this hosue below more farmhouse contemporary, but it's well done (and far preferable to boohoo suburbia):

This house to be is more farmhouse-lite:

But it's these designs (below) that are dissappointing: suburban blah (at the ripe ole price of 950K!):

I know, I know: a lot of people like this "style", and these places are nice inside, but yikes!

The hood's a-changin' with scrapes galore. As prices rise, I think we'll see more and more architect-designed homes. There will be fewer and fewer people willing to pay 1.5 to 2 mil for a house that would fit right in with Pflugerville...