This sustainable remodeling project by Alterstudio Architects renovated a 1950s-era duplex in the Hyde Park historic district of Austin, Texas, into a contemporary single-family home that is both energy-efficient and water-conserving.

The locally-made brick facades and steel casement windows of the existing structure of the Avenue G House were maintained with the addition of a second story to create two double-height spaces with opposing interior box windows upon entry into the home. A family room and loft is accessible by a glass-railed steel stairway. In the private areas of the second floor, white oak panels connect spaces that feature natural lighting and cross-ventilation. On the main floor, walnut cabinetry hides storage spaces and a powder room.

“In an area of town where the houses are all made up of a collection of small rooms, entering into this home is radically different,” said Kevin Alter, one of three Alterstudio partners, in an interview with EcoBuilding Pulse.  “The house is now spatially open and dynamic, with sight lines going all the way through, and up into two double-height spaces, all filled with natural light.”


Sustainable features include Energy Star-rated windows, use of SFI-certified engineered lumber and low- and zero-VOC paint, a ground-source heat pump, Austin Water Conservation-certified toilets, abundant air sealing, and insulation that exceeds requirements of the Austin energy code. The mechanical systems and ductwork are located within the thermal enclosure and features a high-efficiency HVAC filter. Bathroom exhaust fans are connected to a timer and humidistat. A rainwater-harvesting system redirects roof runoff to a catchment system.


Alterstudio Architecture LLP of Austin, Texas maintains a “commitment to enhance and protect both the cultural and natural environments of the communities” for which it builds projects with a focus on long-term sustainability, promoting “an ecological approach that acknowledges the impact of finite resources as a positive contributor in the creation of an ethical architecture” while being “uplifting to its users and in harmony with its cultural context and natural surroundings.” The firm has won over sixty design awards.