Three new housing projects in Austin: Part II of III
August 12, 2009, 1:23 pm
Filed under: arts
, go green
| Tags: Beck-Reit & Sons
, chris krager
, Dwell magazine
, East Austin housing development
, geothermal HVAC
, green homes in Austin
, green housing
, modern architecture
, net-zero energy community
, sol austin
Earlier this week I posted about the South 5th, SOL Austin & Cobra Studios projects, which represent a wide cross section of innovative housing options in the Austin area. I had the opportunity to visit each project last week. Below are some of my notes & observations on the SOL Austin project – please chime in if you have other thoughts you’d like to share!
The overview: Designed by KRDB in Austin and built by Beck-Reit & Sons. 38 single-family lot development on 5.5 acre site currently under construction. Located within an existing neighborhood 3 miles East of downtown on site of former tree nursery. Units range from 1,200 – 1,800 s.f. Prices on available units range from $217,000 – $349,500. 12 Units are currently sold. Additional pricing information can be found through the Good Life Team website.
Green Stats: First net-zero energy neighborhood in the U.S., all homes feature the following: Geothermal HVAC, solar arrays ranging between 3-6kw per home, high efficiency glass & SIP construction. reuse of 150 live oak saplings from original tree farm & all homes are rainwater collection ready. The sub-grade bio-filtration system is the first of it’s kind in Austin & allows park space to inhabit the space where an unsightly detention pond would have been.
Goober on the Street (Moi) Review: I’m not even going to try to pretend that I have an unbiased opinion of this project. I’ve been tracking it’s development since I first attended the East Austin Studio Tour in the fall of 2007 and viewed the Sol-art exhibition (which was hosted in shipping containers scattered about the site). My own home is only a few streets away and I’ve kept an eye on progress since they broke ground on the streets & utility work a year ago. Also weighing heavily on my bias is the fact that I’d been fascinated with architect Chris Krager & his work with KRDB since seeing his East Austin debut project on the cover of Dwell Magazine in 2002.
All that said, I like the SOL Austin project. I like it, but I’m not sure if I LOVE it yet. I’m anxious to see how the community comes to life a year or two after it’s been filled with homeowners. The individual floorplans are practical & innovative. In most cases the tightly situated homes are sited so that windows do not look into neighboring homes, but some homes with private courtyards may not feel as private given the close proximity to neighboring homes. The exteriors are brightly colored, which in general I like, but at times the facades resemble collages of construction remnants (see photo at left), with their different textures & surfaces.
I’m eager to know how well these homes perform in the long run. As a net-zero community I have high hopes for their impressive efficiency stats. If successful, the SOL Austin project could set the bar for other communities on the East side.
Summary: An innovative, affordable community on the East side whose success may be measured in kw’s, not $$’s.
Additional photos can be found on my flickr page.
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