CRA’s B Austin featured in Green Builder Magazine Nov/Dec 2019 Issue & Recognized in the 2019 Hive 50

Two big announcements for our Award Winning B Austin Communities Project.

First, B Austin Communities is being recognized in the 2019 Hive 50.  See more in the article in Builder Magazine here with excerpts below:

Our 2019 Hive 50 list—spanning design, building technology, capital commitment, customer intelligence, and business and consumer strategy—highlights applied brilliance that reflects how the future now defines this community more so than the effect of all the past millennia put together. The honorees will be celebrated at the fourth-annual Hive conference, Dec. 4-5, in Austin, Texas.

Second, excited to see our B Austin Communities project grace the pages of Green Builder Magazine this month.  Link here to the complete issue.


Project Portfolio: Peak Lookout Residence



Check out Paul Finkel’s lovely architectural photos from our Peak Lookout Residence completed with builder, Todd Fletcher of Peak Design Build LLC!

The Peak Lookout Residence is contemporary, luxury home located in Lakeway, TX. The residence is positioned on a gently sloping site and oriented towards distant views. The linear parti frames outdoor spaces both to the north and south of the residence and works with passive solar principles and breezes to allow for an efficient green design. This is a 5 bedroom, 4-1/2 bath residence with a 3 car garage and ample pool deck for entertaining and outdoor living. The material palette is quiet but elegant, consisting primarily of stucco, stained cedar accents and anodized RAM windows through out.

Peak Lookout Residence Portfolio Link




What to expect when working with an Architect

Project Rendering for a Private Outdoor Dining Structure. We use different types of visualization tools throughout the design process to ensure that you have full project understanding.

We often find in practice that many people don’t know what to expect when working with an architect. Ultimately, an Architect’s job is to design a space that realizes but often goes beyond the clients initial goals. An Architect will take the client’s ideas and uncover the hidden potential. We are able to design a building from scratch, we don’t need you to bring in floor plans of buildings or numerous magazine clippings. You can if it helps you talk about your ideas but ultimately we just need you to bring in your requirements and expectations, we can take it from there, working with you to finesse every detail.

We are trained to create functional, elegant experiences and do so while bringing to bear the project’s program needs and the site’s zoning, code, accessibility, features, micro-climate and views. Ultimately, we work with an in-depth understanding of all of these elements producing an architectural experience that provides a framework for your commercial or residential development. We can create a bold new image for your business contributing to its branding and identity or design a building that gently fits in with its surroundings.

Professional Medical Building Site Sketch

Architects also play the role of the orchestrator. We will coordinate all consultants that may be required, such as structural, civil, mechanical engineers etc.  The documents used for construction will be highly organized and legible, making the building process as smooth as possible. We can be the first people you contact when looking at acquiring a property for a particular need or we can help you re-visualize a property you have been occupying for years.  If you have any questions about the development process, please don’t hesitate to let us know. 

Global EcoTourism

An interesting trend has been taking hold.  Travelers are becoming increasingly interested in Eco tourism.  It is defined as “Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the welfare of local people.”  by Eco  We are working on a community on the beach in Brazil and the subject of Eco Tourism came up.  In Brazil the residents are much more aware of the global warming crisis, a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, shows that 90% of Brazilians believe climate change to be a global crisis while only 44% of Americans believe it to be a problem.  Read the article here. This public knowledge lends Brazil to be a prime candidate for Eco-tourism, especially with the Olympics slated to be held there in 2016 and the World Cup will be there in 2014.  The world will have its eye on the country and it is a perfect opportunity to show off sustainable trends while boosting the growing economy in a sustainable way.  This picture is of a sustainable development called La Posada in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica where we first experienced Eco tourism about three years ago.

Eco Tourism Costa Rica
Eco Tourism

The idea of designing a sustainable master plan for an eco resort is exciting.  It is a perfect opportunity to create a learning environment for the keen traveler, so they can take lessons learned home with them to implement in there own lives while stepping lightly within a natural ecosystem.  We began our project with extensive research in the local area, learning about the culture and the natural habitats.  We then made every decision with those things in mind.  With help from websites such as Gaizma local solar, wind and rain information is easily collected for any given global location.  This is a great starting place, a sustainable designer can easily design for given conditions anywhere in the world, but it is always important to look at the local vernacular architecture as well.  Vernacular architecture gives clues to what has worked for centuries, finely tuned construction techniques that can be learned from and modernized.  Experiencing sustainably designed master plans as a tourist can educate the world traveler not only about world customs but about the natural processes of the world.  It’s exciting.

What is “Off the Grid”?

This has become a buzz in green building. To create a building that is carbon neutral or operates off the grid.  Is it really possible though?  We think it is.  But it takes a big commitment and requires the clients full support.  The idea is basically that you account for all the energy that goes into making or readying all the materials that will compose your building – this is the “embodied energy” of a material and then you design the structure to use as little energy as possible in the day to day operations and you offset the energy it does use by creating energy on site or purchasing offset credits. It is the art of creating a balance with the environment. Is it for everyone, probably not – but it is possible. As the building market continues to evolve towards more sustainable products and designers get more in tune with designed energy efficiency you will begin to see it more and more.  It actually makes more sense to do it as a community enterprise where resources can be shared.

Sustainable Master Planning

Green Building Starts in the Master Planning phase.

What is Sustainable Master Planning?  It is an opportunity to set up the rules of the game before the game begins.  Whenever possible think about sustainability as early in the design process as possible.   There are hidden opportunities that can be taken advantage of in the Master Planning stage.

Things to think about, a good site analysis should include the following considerations:

1. Solar Siting:  Layout plats to allow for maximum solar control for the future buildings. This means allowing for horizontal siting along the east/west axis to maximize Southern exposure North of the equator and Northern exposure South of the equator.  Direct South/North exposure is easier to control architecturally, through the use of shading devices, then East/West exposure.  This is the same for solar gain in cold climates or solar shielding in warmer climates.

2. Wind Path:  Understand the direction of the breeze, use massing to take advantage of cooling breezes in a warm climate or to block cold wind in a cold climate.  Generally, Wind Roses can be obtained from local airports.

3.  Walkability:  Create a pedestrian friendly environment.  Encourage walking, provide shade and understand walking distances – site uses strategically to encourage strolling rather than driving.

4. Limit Paving:  Use as little paving as possible.  This increases permeability and reduces runoff.  It also reduces urban heat islands.  Asphalt paving is a petroleum based material – it is a carcinogenic material for the folks building it and for the environment where it sits. Consider using things such as permeable pavers or previous concrete.

5. Encourage natural habitats and green belts:  Allow for native wildlife and ecosystems to exist within your site.  Utilize native plantings wherever possible, they will thrive in the climate and will contribute to the local ecosystems.

6. Step lightly – respect the earth.

Clark Richardson Architects recommends these basic design strategies for every project, small or large.

Shipping Container Housing

Granted this is not a new idea, but it is a great idea!  The recession has decreased the amount of exports from developing nations.  It has decreased the amount of exports from this country for that matter.  What this has done is created stockpiles of thousands of shipping containers sitting on lots across the country.

Stockpiles of Containers
Stockpiles of Containers

The purchase price is cheap and the potential is fantastic.  Think about it – you get a structural box that is watertight.  This is the best form of recycling – re-purposing something for a new use.  The other great thing about this idea is the shipping container is designed for easy distribution.  They are designed to be transportable by train, boat, freight trucks.  It is genius. I am shocked that the redevelopment of these containers is not happening more frequently.  They can also easily be used by folks following natural disasters etc. for temporary housing. They would sure beat FEMA trailers.  I suspect they would also catch the eye of hipsters looking for a cool space for work or home or both.  Shipping containers offer the chance to make affordable, contemporary , sustainable living environments.