HARRISON HOUSE
SAN ANTONIO, TX
Design/Build 2006-07
Concept: Built in 1925 and remodeled in the 1970s, this bungalow sits on a hill close to downtown San Antonio. While the original 1200 square foot home may was not conceived in terms of sustainability, it was quite responsive to that issue. The minimal ecological footprint of the building was complemented by natural ventilation and illumination.
For contemporary living, it was necessary to insert areas for closets, utilities, equipment, and storage. This was accomplished by creating a thickened central “wall,” emphasized by being at a slight angle to the plan. The “wall” also separates public living areas from private ones. For greater spatial fluidity, all doors are sliding and retract into the walls and are emphasized by large transoms above the doorways.
There was an explicit intention to recognize that the entire floor plan of the house was radically redone, by inserting contrasting colored wood strips into the floor to mark where existing walls once stood.
Site: A rectangular site of 6,000 sf, with one major tree, the land is flat. Surrounded by single family homes mostly dating from the same period, the neighborhood is stylistically eclectic.
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1925 Original Plan
1970s Addition
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2006-07 Intervention
Construction: The interior of the house was stripped for a more contemporary use of space, also allowing insulating all walls, floors and ceilings. During demolition, a great effort was made to divert materials from the landfill by recycling, reusing, reselling, or giving them away. The sustainable landscaping uses native, drought-resistant, non-invasive species, and hard surfaces that are all local and porous.