In Austin, Texas, there’s a stunning new house that’s actually a car showroom first, and a home second.
Called AUTOHAUS, the two-story structure was designed by Matt Fajkus Architecture to showcase its owners’ car collection.
Because the place puts emphasis on the stylish garage instead of the abode itself, it features an expansive ground floor reserved for the vehicles. The garage has polished concrete flooring, a mechanic’s lift and workbench, and enough space for eight cars.
The current models in the homeowners’ classic collection include a Ferrari, a Porsche, and an Alfa Romeo.
On the second floor are the living quarters, which cantilevers over the garage, providing an additional carport. Other parts of the dwelling include the bedroom, an office nook, an open layout kitchen and living area, a rooftop terrace covered by a wooden canopy.
Large glass windows also provide natural light, as well as a scenic look at the vintage car collection below.
We recently caught up with Matt Fajkus Architecture to know more about AUTOHAUS.
What was the project brief?
“Our clients are both race car drivers, which is how they met. They wanted to build a house that allowed them to celebrate their shared passion – the thing that connected them in the first place.”
Take us through your creative process. How did you approach the project? Where or who did you turn to for inspiration?
“Since the primary owner interest for this project was for the restoration and collection of vintage cars, with the residential component secondary, we started there.
“We were inspired by automotive design, including crafting the living quarters as a virtual monocoque, floating in the air, just as the vehicular vessels are their own entities. The material choices then played into this approach, further articulating the difference between the garage space and the living space.
“At Matt Fajkus Architecture, we promote a transparent design process including a direct collaboration with client and builder. Likewise, the firm fosters honesty and functionality in design itself, with a belief in balancing restraint and expression in broad design moves as well as material choices and composition.
“We enthusiastically take on the unique challenges presented by each project to inspire highly creative, cost-effective solutions meant to enhance building performance and daily life as a whole.
“A collaborative design and construction process was key to this project. The Matt Fajkus Architecture team worked with the general contractor, Risinger Homes, to design, fabricate, and install the large custom steel doors and windows.
“A makeshift steel fabrication and paint shop was temporarily set up inside the house’s garage during construction. The doors and windows were built in-house on the ground floor before their installation in its floating living quarters.
“This process allowed for greater quality control, high-end craftsmanship, full customization, and immediate installation, to produce a structure for a unique function and equally unique living experience.”
What was the greatest challenge you encountered for AUTOHAUS?
“Our greatest challenge for this project was to design a compact urban living space that feels expansive horizontally and vertically. We created a floating second floor volume, shifted forward to allow for double-height views into the garage space at the back, while acting as an everyday carport beneath the hovering bed chamber in the front. The living space visually expands to the adjacent exterior roof deck, as well as to the sky above.”
What role does green building play into your work?
“We possess advanced knowledge in sustainable design principles, including energy-efficient strategies, passive daylighting, and intelligent material choices to promote healthy indoor air quality.
“The MF Architecture office believes that the current sustainability-driven era is the most all-encompassing movement since Modernism, as it reaches to all scales of design including lifestyle choices. Thus, the firm is driven by the optimism that we live in an ideal time to affect positive change locally and globally, all accomplished by intelligent design.
“Our commitment in green building spans both the academic and professional realms. Our founder and Principal Architect Matt Fajkus was just promoted to the Director of the Graduate Program in Sustainable Design at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, and our firm has also officially signed the Architecture 2030 Challenge.”
What would be your studio’s dream creative project?
“We enjoy taking on unique challenges of all sorts, but especially those where both the client and ourselves have no idea what the end result might be. That approach usually results in the most creative projects.”
What advice would you give to young architects starting out today?
“The most critical part of starting out as a young architect is to clarify a solid set of core design principles while constantly being open to learning things along the way.”
To find out more about Matt Fajkus Architecture and their work, head on over here.