Prospect House

Designed by Max Levy Architect, this wedding and event space just outside of Austin, Texas, captures the city's burgeoning cultural scene by focusing on a more sophisticated appreciation of agrarian design.

Prospect House is a wedding and event space standing out in a 20-acre field of native rolling prairie about forty minutes from Austin, Texas. Studying similar facilities in the area, the client saw they were almost all emphatically rustic. Yet Austin’s burgeoning cultural scene suggested a city ready for fewer hay bales and wagon wheels. Perhaps a more sophisticated appreciation of agrarian design would ring true; Prospect House’s packed schedule now validates that early hunch.

The building is a single long narrow gabled form, its exterior walls and roof sheathed in galvanized corrugated sheet metal, and its interior walls and ceiling sheathed in horizontal wood siding painted white. An unyielding 24” o.c. wall and roof framing system of wood studs and gang-nailed roof trusses structures the design. Where this framework is revealed, it is also painted white. A large breezeway cuts through the building and is sheathed in insect screen. Crowning the roof is a huge windvane; its mast extends down into the main hall and supports a twelve foot diameter metal ring that languidly changes direction with the breezes. This ring is routinely decorated with ribbons or garlands in concert with the hall’s festivities.

Events can be accommodated inside the hall, on the breezeway, in the outdoor biergarten, or on a tree-lined lawn. The focal point of the lawn is a raised platform with a 10-foot square aluminum picture frame, painted white and set against the horizon.

Despite its low budget and spartan details, this carefully edited building conveys a feeling of warmth generously open to almost any function. The client, a talented young structural engineer, joined his unusual sensitivity with the architect’s vision, contributing to the project’s success.

Image credits

Prospect House 1

Casey Dunn Photography

Prospect House 2

Casey Dunn Photography

Prospect House 3

Casey Dunn Photography

Prospect House 4

James Moes Photography

Prospect House 5

Jerry Hayes Photography