SING-RAGNI RESIDENCE

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This two-story, 3,800 square-foot house for a family of four in Houston is introverted from the outside and extroverted inside. The architects used straightforward means (light gage metal-frame construction, cement stucco exterior, polished concrete floors and interior drywall facing) to construct a sense of spatial mystery.  This is achieved with rotational movement, directing circulation through the house in a series of right-angle turns that obscure the size of the house and constantly surprise with framed views of the out-of-doors.  This imbues the house with a sense of tranquility and isolation belying its actual location near a busy urban intersection. The open living-dining-kitchen is the house’s big space, expanding through the length of the lot.  Wall cabinetry in teak veneer (scrap material from a previous project) juxtapose a purple hue volume incorporating a commissioned hydrocal and resin art installation.  A linear slot window on the cabineted east wall frames a horizontal landscape view of thorny chorisio trees.  The kitchen wall extends visually into a patio area (through fully operational glass panels) and includes an integrated linear outdoor fireplace beside a teak dining table. In addition, the ground floor houses a functional mud-room, hall library and a live-work studio.  A 180 degree pivoting door panel in fumed larch transforms the studio and bath into a private en-suite guest bedroom complete with integrated murphy bed.  The upper level is the family domain including a master bedroom and bath, two identical children’s suites with attached play area and a utility room.  The children’s area is defined by plexwood flooring, a very durable end grain wood product from the Netherlands, while the master suite is defined by oiled fumed oak.  The master bath is a combination of oceanic bluestone flooring, fumed larch cabinetry and statuarietto marble wall panels.  The stair landing includes an operable skylight to assist in directing natural ventilation through the house.  A roof deck with views to the Texas Medical Center is accessed from a stair off the master bedroom balcony.  The roof surface is an energy saving reflective white PVC membrane beneath 18 solar panels with the capacity to generate 370kWh/month.  This combined with a super insulated envelope helps keep the building extremely efficient and affordable to operate.

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