Horizon House in the Mojave Desert (photo by Casey Dunn)
A retreat in Marble Falls, Texas. (photo by Casey Dunn)
Ted Flato, principal of Lake | Flato Architects
"Lake | Flato Houses: Respecting The Land" from Rizzoli
San Antonio- and Austin-based Lake | Flato embodies a vision of architecture that not only has stood the test of time but remains more intensely relevant than when it opened its then-unorthodox practice four decades ago. In the intro to this fall’s Rizzoli book, Lake | Flato Houses: Respecting the Land, the firm states its guiding principle: “When we decided to create our own architecture firm in 1984, we had a number of strong ideas about the kind of buildings we wanted to design.
“We believed first and foremost that architecture should be rooted in its particular place, responding in a meaningful way to the natural or built environment. Using local materials and partnering with the best local craftsmen, we sought to create buildings that were tactile and modern, environmentally responsible and authentic, artful, and crafted.”
The 16 recent homes detailed in Lake | Flato Houses live up to that “Respecting the Land” mantra. They range in geographical location, function, and stance, encompassing dramatic, cantilevered lakeside retreat in Marble Falls, Texas; the shed-roofed Aegean Pool House in Mineola, Texas; and, in West Texas, the horizon-hugging Prow in Fort Davis, and Marfa Ranch, built out of rammed earth.
While most identified with Texas, the firm occasionally strays afield with impactful results: A barn-inspired home in Clinton, New York, makes it into Respecting the Land, as does the modernist-leaning Horizon House in Las Vegas.
What unites all the above is exemplified by Lake | Flato’s statement: “By designing in harmony with the land we make buildings that, by their massing, orientation, and materials, are inherently sustainable.”