This charming guest house, situated above Lake Buchanan northwest of Austin, Texas, provides more than just extra sleeping space. The low-energy, zero-maintenance house is powered by a rooftop photovoltaic system and sources all of its water from the sky. Designed by Mell Lawrence Architects, the Mod Cott guest house is a modern residence that enjoys lovely views of the surrounding Texas landscape.
The Mod Cott guest house complements a nearby stone residence on the shores of Lake Buchanan. With views of the shore, water and surrounding landscape, the guest cottage is perfectly situated to interact with the environment. The volume is clad in galvanized metal, for a low-maintenance exterior that deflects the wind, sun and rain. The slightly angled roof tilts to direct rainwater into a pipe that leads to an adjacent cistern. This collected rainwater provides all the water needed by the cottage. The surrounding landscape is all xeriscaped and has no need for irrigation, because all of the plants are native and drought tolerant.
The roof of the cottage also holds a photovoltaic system with 14 solar panels. Although connected to the grid, the system provides more than enough power for the house. Shade elements on the south and east sides help minimize heat gain, and the cistern and a tree on the west provide more shading. Inside, the front of the home holds a large open living, dining and kitchen area. To the back is a bedroom and a full bathroom. A staircase leads up to a lofted area for extra sleeping or resting. Fir decking is used as the ceiling/floor of the loft, the staircase and the wainscotting. Finally, large operable windows allow for views, daylighting and natural ventilation for cooling.
Images ©Mell Lawrence Architects