White Oak

The White Oak Mixed Use development injects life into three existing bungalows in Houston Heights by introducing new elements with a fun and contemporary character. At the street side, the design maintains the facades of the three bungalows, preserving the historic fabric of the neighborhood along White Oak Drive. Along the back of the bungalows, a linear addition stitches together the existing buildings, providing a covered connection between all three. This linear bar floats above the ground plane on a light steel frame. An expanded metal skin wraps the steel frame, offering shade and providing a veil of privacy to the interior.

An elevated deck extends outward from the bar, creating a surface for outdoor gathering in the shade of the trees. That surface slopes upward and downward as needed, mitigating the varying floor heights of the existing bungalows, while also ramping down to create points of entry at the sidewalk. The deck expands where space allows and slips into narrow gaps between the bungalows, creating both generous spaces for larger groups as well as more intimate moments where more privacy is desired.

As the deck reaches the extents of the site, the surfaces fold upward. In some instances, these vertical transitions become benches for sitting along an elevated edge. At other moments, the surface folds up and over the deck, providing shade and a degree of enclosure. At the back of the site, the largest of these folds defines an enclosure for a small commercial take-out space. Throughout the site, these new elements work in dialogue with the existing buildings to create a unique playful atmosphere that provides a hub of activity within the neighborhood.