Designed for a family with teenage children, Casa Escuda is located in a neighbourhood in the heart of San Antonio in south-central Texas. The home is on a triangular, corner lot and looks toward a wooded preserve in the rear.
"The lot backs up to a nature preserve, giving the property a sense of seclusion despite its residential context," said local studio Tobin Smith Architect.
The team's goal was to create a home that could not only accommodate family life, but also serve as a peaceful refuge where occupants feel immersed in the landscape.
Following the site's geometry, the architects conceived a 6,169-square-foot (573-square-metre) home that is roughly triangular in plan. The dwelling consists of a single-storey main portion and a two-storey wing.
The exterior was envisioned as a "series of shields that provide privacy and mitigate solar exposure," the team said.
The front facade offers maximum privacy. Pieces of Texas limestone – some smooth, others textured – are assembled in rows that form a long and mostly solid wall.
"Fenestrations are modulated by these datum lines, revealing a precise resolution of material, composition and interior experience," the team said.
Marking the entrance is a tall, curved water feature made of weathering steel.
"Water from the roof cascades down this element and into a round cistern below, before flowing through a runnel at the base of the stone facade," the team said.
"These oxidised elements celebrate water conveyance and distribute this captured resource to the landscape."
The home is more transparent in the rear. The single-level portion of the home has window walls set within a series of white stucco "fins". The two-storey wing is covered in grey, burnished stucco.
Inside, one finds light-filled rooms, with views oriented toward the nature preserve.
On the ground level, the team placed communal spaces, the main bedroom suite, guest quarters, a study, a garage and a carport. The upper level holds the kids' bedrooms and a game room.
Interior finishes include porcelain tile flooring, walnut cabinetry and black soapstone.
A central patio, which adjoins the public realm, directs views to the "ephemeral foliage and skyscapes".
Other homes in San Antonio include a home comprising gabled forms organized around three courtyards by Mary English and Xavier Vendrell Architects, and a small-footprint dwelling that is meant to show "how a family can comfortably live on a compact site without sacrificing space, quality or use."
The photography is by Dror Baldinger.
Architect: Tobin Smith Architect
General contractor: Mauze Construction
Structural engineer: M. Scott Williamson
Landscape architect: John S Troy Landscape Architect