Texas ASLA Honor Award 2017

We are very proud to announce that our project, the Balcones Residence, has been selected for a Texas ASLA Honor Award for 2017!


A brief description of the project:

A controlled landscape palette of natural limestone, gravel, raw steel and low-maintenance plants offers a calming counterbalance to the modern, bold architecture of this hillside residence.  Playing with form and volume, the collaborative design team of architect, landscape architect, contractor and client, used negative space as the guiding landscape principle for this modern Austin residence.  

With twenty-five feet of vertical grade change and soils of limestone bedrock, this 0.4 acre site offered perplexing way finding and planting challenges.  Circulation was addressed by playing up the negative space between the two concrete architectural volumes. 

With such a steep climb, purposeful grading was paramount in achieving a successful balance between built and natural elements.  Controlled grading was executed to expose the natural beatify of the site.  The use of an air-spade allowed the landscape crew to methodically and gently expose layers of the creamy, limestone bedrock which anchors the pool terrace.  This weathered limestone ledge provides a soft break between the flat pool terrace and the grass-filled hillside.

Thick blocks of limestone are stacked to form an easy scramble up to the existing bird’s-eye overlook, and skyline views of downtown. 

Invasive plant species were eradicated and replaced with low-water use plants, which also gave way for existing, healthy plant material to flourish.  A light touch to the landscape was critical in highlighting the natural beauty of the site while meeting the client’s goal of a low water, and low-maintenance landscape.   

In the end, restricting the landscape palette and adhering to the landscape design principle of celebrating negative space produced a powerful landscape that anchors the modern architecture into its natural hillside.


For more images, please see: Balcones Residence


Team: Mell Lawrence Architects, Pilgrim