Guadalupe River House, New Braunfels, Texas. Low Design Office.
“One of the most popular destinations in Texas for rafting and tubing, the Guadalupe River—a serpentine waterscape that interweaves vacation properties with a floating park experience—forms the backdrop for this project. Three siblings sought to create a gathering point for their families. They asked for a design that made connections—between their children, light and the riparian landscape—a place to surface memories.
The site is a long and narrow stretch of land, hidden off a back road and punctuated by cypress trees, that recedes down into the Guadalupe River floodway. Although flow rates of the river are regulated upstream by the Canyon Dam, given climate variability the design needed to accommodate extreme flooding as high as four meters above grade. Accomplishing this cost-effectively while preserving intimacy with the site became central to the project. The design leveraged standard materials, details, and components to emphasize spatial configurations that enhance shared moments between the families and the outdoors.
The house is a compound dwelling consolidated into two rectangular forms—rotated in response to river views and old growth trees. This rotation activates living spaces and niched porches via interplay between common areas and private suites. Bridging these two wings of the house, full-height glazing and sliding glass doors wrap transparency around the living space while exteriorly refracting views of the tree canopy.
Suspending spaces of congregation, relaxation and contemplation on multiple levels, the design uses cross-ventilation and solar shading to improve building energy performance. Serving as builder for the project, LowDO collaborated with small Texas shops for windows and doors.”
Photo credit: Casey Dunn, Leonid Furmansky