It is often said in preservation circles that the greenest building is the one that's already standing. Architect Miguel Rivera of Miro Rivera Architects recently took a nearly 100-year-old bungalow in Austin and renovated it into a beautiful modern residence for himself. The original structure was built in 1917 and had modest rooms and small windows that were redesigned to create large spaces bathed in natural light. The architect kept the original ceiling coffers, windows, trims and pine floors and restored the walls to their original wood plank siding.
The 1917 Bungalow is one in a series of homes located in Austin’s old Clarksville district, whose first owners were freed slaves. The major challenge with the renovation was organizing the long, narrow plot and taking into account the historic neighborhood, the architect said. The length of the site was used to push the entrance to the side of the house, at the point where the old structure meets the extension.
The addition was designed as a long, simple volume that contains the kitchen and living rooms. Large floor-to-ceiling windows open towards the courtyard with a new pool and two prominent oak trees. The white interior walls are decorated with vibrant Latin American art and shelter spaces bathed in natural light.