South 5th Residence

Architect: alterstudio architecture

Owner: Anne Suttles and Sam Shah

Location: Austin, Texas

Category: One- and Two-family Custom Residences (category one)                                                                

Located in Austin's Bouldin neighborhood, this house emphasizes view and dynamic spatial sequence, while also serving as a abstract backdrop for serendipity of light and circumstance.

The South 5th Residence slips nonchalantly into Austin’s eclectic Bouldin neighborhood and deftly negotiates Austin’s zoning, envelope and critical-root-zone requirements.  A rare, 25" Durand Oak and an unexpectedly steep escarpment created a powerful circumstance for a house that emphasizes view and a dynamic spatial sequence, while at the same time being an abstract backdrop for the serendipity of light and circumstance.  The visitor arrives into a verdant courtyard under the majestic oak.  A thin, 4” gabion wall at the street, evergreen plantings and a perforated, Cor-ten corrugated screen to the south, provide varying degrees of privacy and animation for the ensemble.  A transparent living room hovers over the tumbling escarpment and reveals an expansive panorama.  The visceral textures of concrete, mill-finished steel and raw stucco are presented against finely detailed millwork and custom site-glazed window walls—which are framed with rift-sawn white oak and steel to form flitch plate mullions.

"The opacity in front giving way to the near-complete transparency beyond, is very innovative, as are the structural approaches to dealing with a difficult site." ~ Jury comment

Additional information

General contractor: Anne Suttles (client/owner)

Engineer - structural: Leap! Structures

HVAC design: Positive Energy Building Science


Victor A. Mirontschuk, FAIA (Chair), EDI International, PC, New York City

Katie Gerfen, ARCHITECT, Washington, DC

Luis Jauregui, FAIA, Jauregui Architecture Interiors Construction, Austin, Texas

Adrianne Steichen, AIA, Pyatok Architects, Oakland, California

John Thatch, AIA, Dahlin Group Architecture Planning, Pleasanton, California

Image credits


Casey Dunn


Casey Dunn


Casey Dunn


Casey Dunn


Casey Dunn


Casey Dunn