Element House Wins TxA 2016 Studio Award

Page Senior Associate Ricardo Munoz is on a roll with his conceptual design of how Thoreau's retreat on Walden Pond might be created today, accounting for evolution in technology and lifestyles. Texas Society of Architects (TxA) just bestowed a 2016 Studio Award on it, following an AIA Dallas Unbuilt Design Critic’s Choice Award earlier this year.

Element House derives its organization from an evolution of Thoreau’s short-term home to a modern place of shelter. The gable structure represents the historical memory of buildings on the site while the rectangular frames on the opposite end of the project represent the unknown future structures that could occupy the grounds. The materiality of the structure also recalls the simple materials used in the famous cabin that occupied the Massachusetts woods. 

Visitors go to Walden to experience nature first hand, as Thoreau did, and to learn what simplicity and solitude can teach. In order to constantly be reminded of nature, the program is distributed in a detached manner encouraging visitors to experience the outdoors when walking from space to space. All the detached structures are covered by a single continuous roof in order to still provide some manner of shelter. 

The spaces in between the structures are narrow and are meant to frame views of the woods or the water. Windows within the enclosed spaces also provide framed, uninterrupted views to the surroundings. The large windows are meant to evoke the idea of beautiful landscape paintings. The serenity and stillness of Walden provide real yet ever changing vignettes through the large windows that will linger in visitors' minds as would a memory of a painting.

Both Page and the University of Texas at Arlington, where Ricardo teaches in the College of Architecture, Planning & Public Affairs, are credited for supporting his work.

To view all the renderings of the Element House, please click here.

To view all the TxA 2016 Studio Award winners, please click here.

Congratulations, Ricardo!