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Dallas Architecture and Real Estate Insights

by Douglas Newby, Real Estate Broker

Dallas Architecture Blog discusses Modern Architecture and Mid Century Modern Homes, Dallas Neighborhoods, Dallas Real Estate and the Aesthetics of the City.

Architect Designs Home For Another Architect

I found this project particularly interesting because an accomplished Dallas architect designed this Texas modern home for another architect, one that is the president CEO of the second largest architecture firm in the country.

Dallas Modern Home in Bluffview
Architect’s Design for Architect

Stephen Chambers, AIA, designed a Texas modern home in Bluffview for Ralph Hawkins, FAIA, and his family.

This modern home in Bluffview, recently completed, exemplifies a great relationship between an architect and client. In this case, architect Stephen Chambers designed a home for architect Ralph Hawkins. As one might imagine, designing a home for an architect might seem an imposing task. Now imagine designing the home for the CEO of the second largest architectural firm in the nation, HKS, responsible for the W hotel and the new Dallas Cowboys stadium under construction.

An architect designed home is only as good as the collaboration of the client and architect. Here, the client expressed the desire for a home and the architect articulated that vision with the resulting design. In the case of this very successful project, the client had a clean vision of what he desired; a regional modern home that was environmentally sound, sensitive to the neighborhood, dramatic in design, taking advantage of the site, public spaces for entertaining, family spaces that were informal, and related to the covered veranda.

Bluffview Modern Home

While Ralph Hawkins is an expert in designing hospitals, downtown revitalization and large commercial structures such as the American Airlines Arena, the W Hotel, and Texas Stadium, he turned to Stephen Chambers, an established residential architect, to express his vision while still relying on his firm, HKS, for engineering, quality control, modeling, sun studies, and other structural details. Stephen Chambers was a brilliant choice to interpret Ralph Hawkins’ vision. Stephen Chambers created a dramatic design that is kind to the neighborhood, and reflects the sensibility and scale that one would associate with a nationally prominent architect.

Let me first mention the site. Framed by Briarwood and Shadywood, the two gently sloping acres with dozens of mature trees provide a serene natural environment with which Bluffview is associated. A person enjoys the continuous green horizon as the street trails off in the distance down the hill. The topography and deep setbacks give each of the substantial neighboring homes, whether they be Colonial, Italian, or Neoclassical, a lovely and important presence.

Chambers designed a stone and glass house with a standing-seam metal roof fulfilling the first tenet of modernism; the structure should submit to the environment. In this prestigious neighborhood of trees, creeks, and stone outcroppings Chambers designed a home that resonates with the environment and created a front facade mimicking the mass of the neighboring homes. Their effort makes this significant modern home a contributing component to the architecturally diverse neighborhood rather than being stylistically self-indulgent. As a result, both modernists and traditionalists applaud the addition of this home to the neighborhood.

When you step through the front door you will feel the importance of the space – the tall walls of rough-cut, large blocks of Texas Lueder limestone with two horizontal bands of polished limestone continuing through to the visible exterior walls of the same material. The mass of glazed openings and glass doors provide light and long views of green as well as a transparency that contrasts so effectively with the solidity of the stone.  The bamboo floors create a subliminal delicacy to this majestic volume of space. Going deeper into the home, the family rooms become more informal and intimate. The open kitchen and living area, looking onto the covered veranda and backyard, is surrounded by the horizontal overlapping planks of wood which emphasize the expanse of land. Along with the visional continuity of the interior and exterior walls, the ceiling plane continues, creating the porch roof, rectangular stone fire box, and chimney which is visible from the interior and exterior.

Dallas Modern Home

Both the bedroom balcony and veranda capture the southeast breezes, the deep roof overhangs, shade the house in the summer and allow the low sun in the winter to warm the stone and radiate heat. The extensive modeling and sun studies helped determine the subtle shift of the structure from the north to the west. One of my favorite elements of the home is the outcrop corner window, perfectly placed to direct sun and illuminate the tall center wall stone, but not disperse direct sunlight across the room. Even during the day a lantern effect begins as the stone is illuminated with natural light. In the evening the low voltage lighting gives a more prominent lantern effect as the stone glows in the illuminated rooms.

Stephen Chambers is an architect known for his attention to detail and dedication to the function of the house as it pertains to his clients’ desires and needs. This modern home in Bluffview is an exciting example of Stephen Chambers’ talent and an example of collaboration of client and architect at its best. In this case, an architect and an architect.

For additional photos on this property please visit: http://www.dougnewby.com/Neighborhoods/Preston_Hollow_&_Estate_Neighborhoods/Bluffview/Default.asp

For more information on the architect please visit: http://www.dougnewby.com/Architecture/Architects/Practicing_Architects/practicing_steve_chambers.asp

One Response to “Architect Designs Home For Another Architect”

  1. ARCHITECT DESIGNS HOME FOR ANOTHER ARCHITECT Says:

    […] ARCHITECT DESIGNS HOME FOR ANOTHER ARCHITECT […]

    is an article that I am sharing with people on my European Architecture, Art & Design blog.

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