location: Houston, TX
area: 5,900 SF
status: Completed 2005

The Barer Residence is designed for a doctor and an artist. The design investigates the process of creating art, displaying art and living with art. The building functions simultaneously as a working art studio, museum and a house while allowing for elevated views of nature from Memorial Park.

Two intersecting volumes – one metal, the other stucco – form the composition of the main house. The art studio is separated from the main house by an outdoor courtyard but connected by the guest quarters that lie along the north side of the site, creating a U-shaped house. This configuration allows the interiors of the house to look out into the courtyard.

The roof of the guest quarters functions as a sculpture garden, which is accessed through the main house and from a spiral staircase in the courtyard. The architectural palette of the house is neutral so the paintings and sculptures can come to life. Natural light fills the public areas of the house through a glass curtain wall and through two sets of north-facing clerestories. The second floor contains all the public areas: the kitchen, dining room, living room and a large display wall. The living spaces were raised to the second level to afford views of the street and to bring the view of the pine trees closer to the living room. The third floor contains the master suite and study. The master bedroom looks out onto the park, as does the study, which is located on an interior balcony open to the second floor below. The ground floor of the main house contains the media and exercise rooms.