DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE
Designed by award-winning Specht Architects, a newly completed modern home in the prestigious Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas, Texas, exemplifies brutalist architecture’s resurgence.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: CASEY DUNN
Architect: Specht Architects
Landscape Architect: Hocker Design Group
Interior Design: Magni Kalman Design
Contractor: Sebastian Construction
Photography: Casey Dunn
“The ultimate cut of concrete.” That is the best way to describe the Brutalist architectural movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. This masterful impact began to sweep across Europe from its inception - French architect Le Corbusier crafted large-scale projects, such as the houses of Marseille and Berlin, as well as the masterful architecture of Chandigarh in India. Buildings constructed using Brutalist architecture were penned “concrete piles” by many; however, it’s allure soon captivated the masses, as many designers began to adopt the unparalleled aesthetic design. The new appreciation has formed multiple successes, including American designers Specht, who have exquisitely crafted this Brutalist inspired home in Preston Hollow, Dallas.
“Dallas has a long tradition of modern architecture that faded for decades and is now experiencing a resurgence,” explains Scott Specht, founder of Specht Architects. “The home sites of Central Dallas, which are urban, relatively dense, and close to the city center, have driven a unique residential architecture with shaded and screened living spaces that are inward-looking and private. The Preston Hollow house refers to examples such as Edward Durell Stone’s 1959 Oak Court house, with its outdoor covered dining room surrounded by water, and Philip Johnson’s 1963 Beck Residence with its tree-filled inner courtyards.”
This resurgence of traditional design has culminated in this luxury home that expunges external and internal design lines by providing each inch with melodic synchronicity - environmental composition. The outdoors seamlessly blends indoors, with spatial concrete walls, breaking the “modern box.” The courtyards allure with luminous golden lighting, bearing the focus on its green nature and amber segments. The gentle ebb of water is a constant reminder of the linear design of this property. Nighttime gives way to dynamic patterns that illuminate on textured concrete.
The property’s functionality boasts multiple sustainable features, including eliminating direct solar gain in this “living precinct.” It boasts an expansive floating pavilion roof, focusing on the central “Impluvium” which offers a sustainable drought solution. It collects rainwater used for irrigation for the surrounding shrubbery. As light splinters in, the surrounding nature becomes integral to the design, with natural ventilation, offering temperature moderation and shade during the midday Dallas sun. Bare corrugated concrete offers splendid architecture, with a framework that looks at shadow play using custom-fabricated formwork. Space prevails, with minimalism taking center-stage, coupled with an airy and monochromatic ambiance. “This technique, a staple of brutalist architecture from the 1960s and ‘70s creates a play of shadows and patterns that changes throughout the day. Unlike the brutalist work from that era, however, the heavy walls here are countered by delicate steel columns, thin window frames, and the hovering cantilevered edges of the roof. The concrete is a grounding element that provides a contrast to the overall lightness of the spaces,” says Specht.
The interior of the 8,000-square-foot, single-level residence adroitly proposes raw materials in every room, encompassed by thick glass. Rooms divided by paved walkways are broken up by squares of emerald grass. Soft but light, the entire home drenched in white with light-colored hardwood adds to its characteristics—soft cream shades with pops of feisty purple and teal. Stainless steel appliances offer functionality, with white marble counters bringing a stark but chic eminence to the spaces. The formal dining area furnished with retro red is another playful addition, with additional features such as gold light fixtures and color blocking art.
It’s hard not to captivate your senses with this “New Brutalism”, with this Texan delight. This unique home delivers in every capacity. With a heavy focus on renewable resources, it’s certainly a house that will continue to inspire.