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Soaring Wings, Austin, TX, United States

Friday 05 Dec 2008

Taking flight

Winn Wittman 
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Sculptural masterpiece in the Texas Hill Country 

Soaring Wings was a four year quasi-quixotic effort of Austin, Texas architect, sculptor and musician Winn Wittman. Wittman built the house without clients, believing if he built it, they would come. Come they did, from all parts of Texas and around the world to see this sculptural work of art that harmonizes effortlessly with the rugged Texas Hill Country. The architect has gotten inquiries from students from as far away as Pasadena, and Ber-Zeit University in the West Bank. When the owners first walked into the house, they felt as if they were entering a spiritual place, and sensed that Wittman had poured his soul into the project. “It was just so perfect and so correct”, said owner Contessa McPike.

The home is separated into a public volume, containing the living, eating and entertaining spaces, and a private volume, containing the bedrooms, separated by a two-storey glass and steel bridge. Two large wings face the west façade, clad in copper, which provide both sculptural expression, and shading. Motorized mesh shades programmed to an astronomical clock raise and lower with the sun. The home is highly energy efficient, despite the many windows, and features a provision for rainwater collection. There is a three-storey elevator which makes the entire house accessible.

The courtyard, carved from the hillside in back, contains a salt-water pool, and Zen-like rock garden, and is, in many ways, as intriguing as the expressive front of the house. The owners believe the home is a complex, rich, and ultimately satisfying framework for their life. Wittman, who Spaces Magazine called “America’s most rock ‘n roll architect,” sees Soaring Wings as a glimpse of the world as it might be.

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Winn Wittman Architecture

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