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Stunning Concrete Dallas Home Exemplifies the Resurgence of Brutalist Architecture

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Popular architecture styles ebb and flow over the years, with new ones cropping up and historic ones making a comeback. One such type that's resurging is Brutalist architecture that showcases structural elements and raw building materials instead of decorative design. And there's an incredible new example of this in Dallas, Texas.

A recently completed home in the Preston Hollow neighborhood is a sprawling 8,000-square-foot space made using and highlighting concrete. It was designed by Specht Architects using strategies common to classic Dallas modern homes of the 1950s and '60s while creating a modern oasis. The interior flows to the exterior to create a sense of privacy and seclusion from the street and surrounding neighborhood.

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To do that, the team had heavy cast-concrete walls extend from the interior of the house out into the landscape, breaking the "modern box" and creating courtyards that allow for a bright, nature-filled view from every room. This effect is complemented by the vast glass walls that define each space. A large, floating, pavilion roof hovers over the interior and exterior rooms, defining a unique "living precinct" in the site and further fragmenting the boundary between interior and exterior.  

"One of the few things that the owner asked for in the design was the house use the site to the maximum extent," Scott Specht, Specht Architects, told Departures. "We took the direction seriously and merged indoors and outdoors to create a single, expansive experience. The huge windows and multiple interior courtyards make you feel as though you are living in nature, although the house is in a fairly dense part of Dallas." 

Flowing water also helped amplify that sense of urban nature. Starting at the entry, a narrow channel runs through the site to the pool. There are a series of cascading terraces and a soft waterfall near the main entrance along the way. Nighttime lighting within the water creates a changing reflection on the adjacent textured concrete surfaces. 

Similar examples of such style can be found in Edward Durell Stone's 1959 Oak Court house, which had an outdoor covered dining room surrounded by water, and Philip Johnson's 1963 Beck Residence that featured inner courtyards filled with trees.

Though bare-bones in nature, Specht wanted the space to still feel homey. 

Related: Architects Share Predictions for the Future of Design After COVID-19

"Although the house is mostly built of concrete, glass, and steel, it doesn't feel cold or impersonal," he said. "The careful use of textures and introduction of warm wood accents and stone floors along with a huge amount of diffuse natural light makes it a comfortable, yet elegant place to be. It is a very calming pavilion in the middle of a beautiful landscape."

Specht added, "The client's vision aligned closely with many of my architectural passions such as private interior courtyards, "floating" roofs that hover over the interior and exterior spaces, long, low compositions, and precise detailing, Our collaboration brought all these visions to life in a single project." 


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