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Austin Architect Feedback

by Joseph Simons last modified Jan 04, 2006 06:42 PM
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Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by Joseph Simons at December 31. 2005

Hi All,

I'm a new member.

We're moving to Austin in the next two months and are planning to build modern.

We'll rent until the house is finished, so if anyone knows of a great resource for a nice rental with a yard, let me know.

We have narrowed our list down to this group, who we will likely meet with:

Mell Lawrence
Cottam Hargrave
Maier Zelter
Rick Black
Studio Momentum
Tom Hurt
Universal Joint

I realize that many architectst post here. I'd really like to hear from laymen, if possible. In short: no solicitations at this time, thank you :)

Do you have any thoughts whatsoever on these firms? Has anyone built with them?

I would be happy to discuss any experiences or feedback outside the forum as well.

Many thanks!

Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by sydney rubin at January 02. 2006

You might also check out They're doing a half dozen projects around the country including, I believe, one in Texas.

Welcome to Austin.

Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by carl schuelke at January 02. 2006

We're currently doing a remodel with alterstudio. Kevin Alter, the principal, is a professor at UT. They've done some very good modern work, including work on the University of Texas Hillel chapter that just opened. Their website (horribly outdated) is

Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by Karen Pittman at January 03. 2006


I worked with Cottam Hargrave to design and build my house. I didn't interview anyone else on your list in my search, as, at the time, I was more interested in green than modern and the others just weren't on my radar. I have since become familiar with some of the work of other firms that I like alot, including Studio Momentum, Mell Lawrence, Mark Meyer, KRDB, Heather McKinney, to name a few.

I am still really happy with my decision. The house is well-sited, and looks like it's been there all along, nestled among large trees that occupy the center of a 1/4-acre central Austin lot. When the weather is not extreme, it works great without heating or cooling. The natural light inside knocks my socks off. Even the neighbors like it. Not only am I satisfied with the finished product, but the whole experience has been one of the most positive and rewarding that I've had. For me, this was due partly to being able to take a very active or even the lead role in some parts of the project (most notably my workshop and some parts of the interior detailing). Not everyone may want to be involved to that degree, and in fact I believe most of C-H's other customers are not. Another huge factor is that they are great people to work with.

Good luck, and welcome to Austin!

Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by Joseph Simons at January 03. 2006

Many thanks, KP and CBS. I really appreciate it.

Are either of your homes on the architects' websites?

KP, how did you feel about the firms involvement during the construction process? Were they willing to be involved throughout?

Thanks again.

Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by Karen Pittman at January 04. 2006

Hi Odysseus,

No, my home is not on their site. C-H were the builders on my project, so they were pretty involved in construction.
From other projects that were going on a the same time, I was aware of their continued involvement during construction on jobs they only provided design services to.


Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by carl schuelke at January 04. 2006

My home is still under construction so it's not on the website. As far as involvement, they are moderately involved --- they come by and inspect and are amenable to answering any of my builder's questions. However, their low level of involvement was a cost decision on the part of my wife and I. I know they are very involved with other projects.

KP mentioned Heather McKinney. My wife has long been a fan of her work, but I wouldn't define her work as modern. However,she had a very modern home in Tarrytown on the 2005 AIA home tour, and her own home is a modern downtown loft. You can probably find some stuff about the home tour with a little google work.

Re: Austin Architect Feedback

Posted by Joseph Simons at January 04. 2006

kp, I'd really like to talk to you out of the forum if you are willing. I have a few more questions and these would be appropriately private.

Please email me if you get the chance at:

Thank you!

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