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Partners by Design

We asked leading Austin architects—who happen to be married or dating—to advise us on the design sensibilities of their better half.

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ERIC & REBEKAH RAUSER

Rauser Design

Eric and Rebekah Rauser decided years ago that the best way to continue enjoying their collaboration on architecture projects was for neither of them to work at it full-time. By diversifying, they are able to only take on projects that they feel are a good fit for them both.

“We are particularly proud of the Springdale Farmhouse project [the 1,800 square foot house built on East Austin’s Springdale Farm and designed by the Rausers]. The farm is beautiful, even at the end of a long summer.”

QUESTIONS FOR ERIC:

  • 1. Describe Rebekah’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Natural. Simple. Clean.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does she gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Rebekah has an ability to recognize unique opportunities in a given parameter, whether it’s a quality of a material or a feature of a site, that always surprises me. She can see something there that is invisible to me until she makes it obvious.”
  • 3. What is her least favorite design trend?
  • “Unnecessarily oversized houses.”
  • 4. What is her proudest work accomplishment?
  • “Achieving a good work-life balance and not taking herself too seriously.”

QUESTIONS FOR REBEKAH:

  • 1. Describe Eric’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Modernized-traditional. Elemental.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does he gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Function. He can visualize a complicated structure and puzzle together all of the systems before the pencil hits the paper.”
  • 3. What is his least favorite design trend?
  • “Anything adopted from other climates that doesn’t really work in Austin.”
  • 4. What is his proudest work accomplishment?
  • “He is most proud of establishing a separation of his dual role as both an architect and a builder. In addition to designing a few projects per year as Rauser Design, Eric is also a partner at Risinger Homes. This allows him to work with the best architects in Austin to build beautifully designed, high-performance houses.”
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JAMIE CHIOCO & ELIZABETH BAIRD

Jamie Chioco is principal of Chioco Design, which he founded in 2006. He has completed many residential and commercial projects throughout Texas, most recently Benji’s Cantina and Winflo Osteria in Austin. Elizabeth Baird worked under award-winning architect Mell Lawrence for five years before recently switching gears to work for Miars Construction, a small residential general contracting firm with an eye for design.

“The building we chose is a new Residence and Dining Hall at St. Edward’s University by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. We chose this project because it is a great example of contemporary architecture in Austin—from the exterior, the building does its job of relating to the campus, and as you get closer you start to experience the rich texture of the brick walls and notice the interesting crevices and openings in the facade. [When you enter] the interior courtyard you are blown away by the structurally-dynamic forms he created.”

QUESTIONS FOR JAMIE:

  • 1. Describe Elizabeth’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Distilled. Graceful. Precise.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does she gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “She leans towards substantial materials like steel, concrete, wood, and glass in an attempt to express a timeless honesty in design.”
  • 3. What is her least favorite design trend?
  • “Architecture that looks too computer generated and lacks a human touch.”
  • 4. What is her proudest work accomplishment?
  • “Being an integral part of the design team at Mell Lawrence’s office that won a National AIA award for their public park pavilion for the City of Dallas.”

QUESTIONS FOR ELIZABETH:

  • 1. Describe Jamie’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Material-rich. Dynamic. Unpretentious.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does he gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Jamie is always generating unique ideas for each space he designs, however there are some signature elements you will find in many of his projects. These include: the integration of custom patterns or atypical materials (such as a wall made from an array of bento boxes), materials that transition from inside to outside or from one surface or plane to another, and a strong connection to the outdoors.”
  • 3. What is his least favorite design trend?
  • “Over-design with regard to too many colors, textures, and materials in the name of eclecticism.”
  • 4. What is his proudest work accomplishment?
  • “Having established a thriving design practice, full of talented team members that continues to produce fun and exciting work.”
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RICK & CINDY BLACK

Rick and Cindy Black have collaborated on architecture projects for 12 years. They specialize in custom single family houses designed to fit in central Austin neighborhoods.

“We chose the opium den at the Charles Moore Foundation, which is an inspiring and inventive work of architecture but also has a sentimental meaning for us. In 1999, when I was still a student and Rick was working on his own, we separately attended an architecture lecture at the Charles Moore house. It was a pretty packed house, but I found a seat in the opium den near the windows. Rick arrived a bit later, and literally the only seat left in the house was right next to me. Needless to say, the fortuitous meeting was the beginning of our journey through architecture and life together!”

Questions for Rick:

  • 1. Describe Cindy’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Radiant. Practical. Relaxed.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does she gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Cindy has an intuitive approach to configuring spaces, with convictions about the way rooms should connect to one another. I think she responds to places that feel intimate, so she will create a mixture of room proportions and ceiling heights to allow for a sense of refuge. Her use of color as an emotional value always impresses me with its subtleties.”
  • 3. What is her least favorite design trend?
  • “The unwelcoming echo created by over-scaled modern houses.”
  • 4. What is her proudest work accomplishment?
  • “Her successes running her ‘spinoff’ business Hello Kitchen while continuing full collaboration on our shared projects. I still don’t know how she does it!”

Questions for Cindy:

  • 1. Describe Rick’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Composed. Rational. Transformative.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does he gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Rick will persist with design until a clear idea emerges and proportions look right. His buildings feel grounded and tactile due to his preference for materials that weather nicely, such as metals, wood, and concrete. And every detail matters...down to the door levers.”
  • 3. What is his least favorite design trend?
  • “A glass wall recessed in a ‘shadow box’ surround.”
  • 4. What is his proudest work accomplishment?
  • “Staying in business for 17 years.”
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PATRICK OUSEY & PAM CHANDLER

FAB Architecture

Patrick Ousey and Pam Chandler founded FAB Architecture in 1996, an award-winning small, design-focused firm with a focus on custom residences, restaurants, and interiors. Recent projects include Red’s Porch in South Austin and a Stratford Hills renovation shown on last year’s AIA Homes Tour.

“We chose a current project that is being built in East Austin, because our favorite project tends to be our next project . . . not that we are not proud of the projects that comprise our body of work—it’s just that we are always excited about what’s coming next!”

Questions for Patrick:

  • 1. Describe Pam’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Timeless. Modern. Eclectic.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does she gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Pam loves thinking about the materials and details of a project - editing is important to not have any extraneous elements.”
  • 3. What is her least favorite design trend?
  • “Vessel sinks.”
  • 4. What is her proudest work accomplishment?
  • “Maintaining our own firm over the past 17 years—managing all the ups and downs of the economy, while producing a body of work that we are very proud of and making long time friends of clients along the way.”

Questions for Pam:

  • 1. Describe Patrick’s architectural aesthetic in three words.
  • “Clean. Spirited. Timeless.”
  • 2. What specific qualities or materials does he gravitate toward in designing a space?
  • “Patrick looks to create quality spaces that have integrity and are a genuine reflection of our client needs and aspirations. He has a particular knack, whether working with a renovation or developing a new project, for creating quality spaces that relate well to one another while functioning well individually.”
  • 3. What is his least favorite design trend?
  • “Vessel Sinks”
  • 4. What is his proudest work accomplishment?
  • “The balancing act we perform everyday—living a life as an architect, father, and husband.”

Credits

Photography by Julie Cope

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