When Aamodt / Plumb architects were asked to design and build a family home in Austin in just 12 months, they knew a traditional building approach was out of the question. "Twelve months is extremely fast!" says Mette Aamodt. "Twelve months made us realize that we had to think very differently about how to do this project. What we did was to redesign the process of building a house." The result is a 2015 AIA Austin Design Award-winning prefab home on the shores of Lake Austin.
To meet the deadline, Mette Aamodt and Andrew Plumb adapted fast-tracking techniques usually used in large-scale projects. They started by creating a complete Building Information Model (BIM) using Revit building design software. Once the plans were in place, a sustainable timber company manufactured the house panels offsite.
While the panels were being manufactured, Risinger Homes was completing the site prep work and the foundation. Upon delivery of the prefab sections, the home came together quickly. “We were able to frame the house in just two weeks,” says Matt Risinger. “That’s pretty incredible for a 6,000 square foot custom home.”
The large house is divided into two wings, one containing the family’s private living and working space, while the other features public areas for living, dining, and entertaining. The design allowed the architects to preserve all on-site trees, including a mature live oak that provides shade in the courtyard.
Inside, mesquite flooring, custom cabinetry, and steel features show off the work of some of Austin‘s local craftsmen. Outside, the home is clad in Shou Sugi Ban charred Cyprus, an ancient Japanese method of preserving wood by charring and cooling the wood. A lightweight steel roof, sliding shutters, and overhangs help keep the house cool in the searing Texas sun.
The panels were built with energy efficiency in mind, and the envelope fits together so well as a result of the factory fabrication, that the house almost reached passive energy standards before any extra measures were taken.
“All in all, the house is easygoing and comfortable yet open, welcoming, bright and modern,” Aamodt says. “That’s how Austin feels to us.”