In its 35th year, the AIA Austin Homes tour goes hybrid – creating an immersive and fascinating event

On Friday, October 15, the very first AIA Austin Homes Hybrid Tour kicked off with virtual and in-person experiences. From a Clarksville stunner perched on West 10e From the street to an ‘inverted house’ located at Davenport Ranch, the tour was an exciting way to consider both Austin’s historic riches and the new ways architects and homeowners play with light, structure, sustainability and possibilities.

The Friday and Sunday online sessions were fascinating, giving viewers the opportunity to ask the architects specific questions (Q: What’s inside this screen porch fireplace? A: Ceramic balls… it was an experience but the owners love them!) and allow architects to present past and future projects. I especially enjoyed April Clark’s visual presentation of how her client’s art collections influence the way she designs their homes. While I was concerned that the online sessions would seem distant, they actually gave me a deeper and more meaningful sense of architects at work than just wandering around a structure, as I had done in previous years.

On Saturday, however, it was a sheer joy to wake up to a rare, cool autumn morning and set out, a cup of coffee in hand, to visit the three extremely divergent house tours in person. I was able to have a long conversation about HVAC systems and home generators with indoor weather professionals; speak with a Pella window expert; and take a break in the most incredible bathroom I have ever seen to fantasize about one day taking a bubble bath and gazing at both the stars of Texas and the Texas State Capitol.

Read on to learn more about Austin’s must-see architecture.

The Clarksville House was designed by LaRue Architecture and offers stunning views of downtown Austin. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Clarksville Residence | In person and virtual

Architect: LaRue Architects
District: Clarksville

As well as containing the tub of my dreams, this home retains the original facade of a historic Clarksville home and transforms into a modern masterpiece just past the entry rooms to reveal stunning views of the downtown Austin. To me, this house looked like Austin both past and present. (It even includes a wall of Life magazine covers found in the original house.) I liked it so much that I called my oldest son and made him rush so that every time we stop along Lamar Boulevard for tacos from Fresa, we can contemplate this house and dream.

River Oaks District














ExpositionResidence_BrianDillard-1 (1) (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)
In Tarrytown, the Exposition Residence opened in 1939. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Residence Exhibition | Virtual only

Architect: Brian Dillard Architecture
District: Tarrytown

This 1939 stone mansion has been updated with a modern addition that surrounds the courtyard and pool area. A new stone cabin and a covered seating area invite you to relax in the open air.

AIA Austin Home Visit
A Clearview residence offers energy efficiency and hidden gardens. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Clearview Residence | Virtual only

Architect: Weber + Studio Architects
District: Tarrytown

The “solar aluminum skin” exterior and the installation of a rainscreen increase the energy efficiency of this home, and I loved the secret garden located under the pool deck on the main level.

AIA Austin House Tour
The kitchen at the Oak Creek home is comfortable and modern. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Oak Creek Court Residence | Virtual only

Architect: Furman + Keil Architects
District: West Austin

A grand, curved staircase takes center stage in this family home, and oversized windows open onto a backyard filled with oak trees.

AIA Austin House Tour
The Ramsey residence benefits from a beautiful outdoor space and a fireplace. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Ramsey Residence | In person and virtual

Architect: Clark Richardson Architects
District: Rosedale

This home was inspired by the owner’s art collection. A south-lit gallery with skeleton windows (windows installed in the walls above eye level) connects the public space and the private space of the house.

AIA Austin Homes Tour
A giant screened porch connected to the main living room (and featuring a fireplace with ceramic balls) was the star of this gorgeous Rollingwood home. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Rollingwood Residence | Virtual only

Architect: Lake | Flato Architects
District: Rollingwood

A giant screened porch connected to the main living room (and featuring a fireplace with ceramic balls) was the star of this gorgeous Rollingwood home. The gabled floating roof follows the slope of the terrain and guides the views down the hill to a dry creek, private gathering spaces, and an amphitheater.

AIA Austin Homes Tour
Skylights allow the Inverse home to be filled with light and color. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Reverse house | In person and virtual

Architect: Matt Fajkus Architecture
District: Davenport Ranch

Guests enter this house in the public space: a kitchen and a bright living room. Reversing expectations, the private spaces are located downstairs. Skylights allowed the house to be filled with changing colors.

AIA Austin Homes Tour
The Lean On Me house tries to bring in the outdoors. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

Rely on me home | Virtual only

Architect: Studio Flèche Nord
District: Barton Creek habitat

It was a pleasure to hear Francisco Arrendondo talk about this project, which attempts to “bring in the outside” and “blur the line between inside and outside” with a stacked house on top of a hill. .

AIA Austin Homes Tour
The owners of this River Ranch home (on a seven-acre site) were inspired by the movie Out of Africa. (Photo by Tobin Davies Photography)

River Ranch | Virtual only

Architect: Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
District: Ruisseau des Cèdres

The owners of this house (on a seven acre lot) were inspired by the movie Outside of Africa. The resulting architecture, encompassing large living spaces and scale porches, allows them to connect with the natural environment.

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