This pair of fourplexes in Austin's Hyde Park Historic District are a study in how historic structures can be rehabilitated and extended to create 'missing middle' housing types that preserve neighborhood character while increasing density. Substantial renovations restored the exterior charm of the original duplexes and enhanced the interiors with reconfigured layouts, vaulted ceilings and skylights. The new 2-story rear additions contain two further units, one on the ground floor with another above. Their design took cues from the scale and proportions of the existing structures, with gable roof pitches and matching window sizes. Facing the alley, modern detailing and a different siding treatment distinguish the new from the old while respecting the goals of the neighborhood's development guidelines.
The eight 1- and 2-bed rental units range between 500sf and 900sf. Each has a unique floor plan (including an ADA accessible unit on the rear ground floor) with light-filled, airy spaces. The adjacency of the properties enables them to function as a small 'village', with a shared aesthetic sensibility, a mix of private and communal outdoor spaces and a cooperative approach to parking, trash and utilities. Care was also taken to preserve several large trees on the properties, which provide shade for the outdoor spaces.
Smaller-scale multifamily redevelopment in Austin is beset with challenges from a land development code that is not well-tailored to this housing type. As the City undertakes a code rewrite that incentivizes development of this kind, the Ave C project sets a valuable example of how goals of preserving neighborhood character and increasing housing supply need not be mutually exclusive.
The project has been the recipient of a 2019 Preservation Austin Merit Award, an Honorable Mention in the Architects Newspaper Best of 2019 Awards and a 2020 AIA Austin Design Award.
"Our jury was excited to honor a project that balances preservation and density so well – and that shows, fundamentally, that it can be done. This is a complicated project with beautiful results, and we’re thrilled." Preservation Austin 2019 Merit Award Jury