River Oaks Residence
Located on the corner of a small, iconic River Oaks neighborhood noted for its important historical and mid-century modern homes, 940 Kirby strikes a balance between contemporary design and historic roots. Neighborhood deed restrictions presented significant design challenges, including the requirement for a two-story, traditional residential design facing Kirby Drive along with setbacks significantly reducing the buildable area. Referring to neighboring mid-century modern houses as precedent, Page utilized a number of presentations to the Architectural Control Committee to illustrate the scale of height and contextual design of materials and architectural details, resulting in a first-ever approval of a new contemporary and smaller one-story house for River Oaks.
With exterior materials of Norman brick, stucco and “Hardi Artisan” planks, the two-bedroom house is designed with four distinctive facades. Each elevation is connected to its own exterior space via large expanses of glass which bring in abundant natural light. The east-facing kitchen opens out to a small pool and landscaped deck, while the master bedroom and bath suite have a private terrace. Decks and landscaped areas with outdoor sculpture form the entrance to the house, and mask the busy street just beyond. Inside, the utilization of high ceiling, interconnected spaces with clean simple finishes such as terrazzo and milled cypress express the quality of the interior spaces. The use of farm-grown cypress (milled from local trees) in the ceilings and ipe exterior decks create rich contrasts in color.
While the house was not registered for LEED certification it was designed to the highest level of sustainability, utilizing features that include an exterior envelope reaching an average R value of 36 with very low E glass; direct sunlight controlled by glass shading; and an HVAC system of three high SEER variable speed heat pumps with interconnected system management controls. Of particularly note is the rain water collection system that incorporates a 5,000-gallon, above-ground fiberglass tank which collects all of the rooftop runoff rainwater. Integrated into the landscape irrigation system, this system design is the very first of its kind permitted by the City of Houston.
The house is designed around a five-foot planning grid in structural steel. In addition, the utilization of commercial building materials such as a structural concrete floor sitting on 30 cast bell bottom piers and a modular steel structure provides a strong, yet low maintenance building shell. Other commercial building systems include very high performance glazing systems and single ply TPO roofing contribute to the construction integrity and low maintenance, as well as the simplicity of construction.
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Society of American Registered Architects. Honor Award.
Publications + News
- Mid-Century Merges with Contemporary Design
- Page Reveals Design Niche: Luxury Residences
- Four Page Projects Bring Home SARA Awards