MF Architecture has completed the Main Stay House in Austin, TX. The house exists as a straightforward proposal, with paring down the components of a house to a minimal amount of planes and openings, on an urban infill lot.
The scheme is anchored by a staircase which bifurcates the layout to provide a clear division between the common and private zones of the house. The staircase is clad in gray masonry both externally and internally, providing a clear reading of the massing from the all outside angles. The masonry also contrasts an otherwise muted interior atmosphere of smooth, desaturated surfaces.
The house is built to endure the hot climate of central Texas, from orientation to framing to airtightness to thermal-bridge free connections. Simple and yet clever design moves enable a free-flowing plan and section which allow an abundance of natural light without overheating during the hot summer days. The Pool Court capitalizes on the dappled light from the tree, roof overhang, natural breeze and water. Various openings are carefully considered in each interior space to withstand the harsh west sun, providing a balance of daylight and shading while reducing reliance to artificial lighting. Operable windows with double glazing and low E coatings to provide cross ventilation. A more robust framing method (2x6) is used with advanced insulation. The inside of the house is cool enough to live without a functioning a/c even in the hottest months. All wood products use formaldehyde free binders, and only low VOC paint was specified.
Photography: Charles Davis Smith