A Home is not a House.

m. arch i
integrative studio
professor martin haettasch
the university of texas at austin
with allison walvoord


TxA Studio Award Winner 2019
published Texas Society of Architects magazine Nov/Dec 2019
aia dallas student design award  2019
published in ARCHITECT magazine Studio Prize 2018
ut austin design excellence winner spring 2018
architecture texas student biennial 2018


The booming City of Austin is particularly beset by the ideal of free standing homes. The American icon is elevated to an absurd level under the current code by enforcing volume limitations, encouraging sprawl, and isolation. In response to this, we present clear and identifiable objects, or “houses”, in the landscape that appear to be freestanding. However, upon occupation the units interconnect in unexpected ways, reinforcing a comprehensive and shared identity through density and integration. As a result, the community is legible at two scales – as a collection of individual objects, and as a single object that consists of many constituent parts. Tilting up the ground plane towards the rear of the site both enhances the perception of freestanding objects and enables each unit to connect below grade and out of sight. Alterations to the ground delineate outdoor private spaces, their boundaries indicated by a change in elevation. The spaces between buildings are charged with a life of their own, one that pertains to a visual and physical connectedness with the community through propinquity and situational closeness. The resultant “village” presents a new collective identity distinct from the typical suburban fantasy, creating a decisive dialogue about house-ness in the city.


Programs used: Grasshopper, Rhino, Revit, Autocad, VRay, Illustrator, Photoshop, Indesign.



2019 Texas Architect Studio Awards Juror Write up from Oana Stanescu, Florian Idenburg, Marc Fornes, and Mimi Hoang:


“The project is strong, as it proposes an alternative way of inhabiting the city. The representation reinforces this idea by means of a scalar trick that gives the characters inhabiting the compound an otherworldly quality. The idea that these two, designed world and inhabitants, mutually affect each other sets this proposition apart. The appealing scheme and representation are complemented by a care for detail and material.”

Analytique of site artifacts.

Early drawing about the courtyard experience.

Early drawing thinking about the view from a window and material qualities of the project.

Relationships between gable volumes.

Different gable pitches used for better light penetration.

Testing different footprint dimensions for housing on site.

+ purple dashed lines indicate private below grade areas.

+ red dashed lines indicate private areas defined mostly by views from windows, paving, and plants.

+ blue dashed lines indicate public spaces. 

A. Prefabricated wood rain screen mounted edge-wise with steel brackets attachments.

B. Sheathing with continuous vapor barrier and gutter at base.

C. 2×6 Insulated Sandwich.

D. 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood interior finish.

E. Continuous LVL Beam for moment connections.

F. 3/4″ Oak Flooring and Sheathing.

G. Floor Joists.

H. Framing, Sheathing, and Birch Plywood ceiling.

K. Poured in place concrete “plinth.”

M. Poured in place concrete “plinth” with opening for glazing.

N. 5″ Rigid Insulation.

P. Pink Glazing.

S. Brick and Glass brick face. 

While designing the intertwining units, my partner and I were joking that it’s as if the “Scooby Doo Hall of Doors” scene was made into an architectural project. We were imagining people going in one door of one house volume, then coming out the door of another, then running into another, and scurrying out another, then zipping into another, then strutting out another, then loafing into another, then skimming out the back to their getaway car.

Cluster Axons 2 small COLOR

A1. – 970ft² – ADA Unit, 1 Bed, 1 Bath,  250ft² Garage.

A2. – 1570ft² – 3 Bed, 3 Bath, 338ft² Garage.

B1. – 1170ft² – 1 Bed, 1 bath, 205ft² Garage.

B2. – 1450ft² – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 205ft² Garage.

C1. – 950ft² – 1 Bed, 1 Bath, 300ft² Garage.

C2. – 1300ft² – 2 Bed, 2 Bath.

D1. – 550ft² – 1 Bed, 1 Bath.

D2. – 1260ft² – 2 Bed, 1 Bath.

E1. – 990ft² – 1 Bed + Loft, 1 Bath.

E2. – 1140ft² – 2 Bed, 2 Bath, 300ft² Garage.

E3. – 960ft² – 1 Bed, 1 Bath, 475ft² Garage.

F1. – 1150ft² – 1 Bed + Loft, 1 Bath.

F2. – 850ft² – 1 Bed, 1 Bath.

F3. – 1900ft² – 3 Bed, 2 Bath.

G1. – 2300ft² – 4 Bed + Loft, 3 Bath.

G2. – 1010ft² – 2 Bed, 2 Bath.

H1. – 1350ft² – 2 Bed, 2 Bath.

H2. – 1050ft² – 2 Bed + Loft, 1 Bath

H3. – 1690ft² – 2Bed + Loft, 2 Bath

Units by level.

  1. Air intake into central HVAC system
  2. Radiant energy from HVAC heats central water tank
  3. Conditioned air and water are delivered to housing units
  4. Local control unit controls air into home
  5. Water goes through tankless water heater for specific temperatures
  6. Conditioned air is delivered to spaces within housing units
  7.  Air circulates out through vents

10 foot offset diagrams for window placements and fire code.

Initial perspective studies with foam study models

Trace sketches on top of the unit layout to determine how the ground will be tiered across the site.

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