Austin is rapidly emerging as a haven for prosperous tech professionals, and in no small part due to its natural surroundings. Abutting the verdant Texas Hill Country, the state capital is permeated by innumerable waterways and parks. Making the most of these conditions is the recently completed 44 East residential complex. Tucked away in the Rainey Street Historic District, the new development makes the most of its lakefront site.
Designed for Intracorp Texas by local heavyweight practice Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (MHOA), 44 East is as successful at integrating its design within Austin’s urban fabric as it is at framing the city’s natural environs from within. Many of its amenity spaces feature apertures that block out nearby buildings and streets to perfectly delineate bucolic vistas, both those in the immediate vicinity and those farther afield. Other exposures offer only the best view of the capital’s rapidly evolving skyline. Interior design of the residences was by Page.
With seamless access to Austin’s trail and greenway network, the 50-story condominium tower embodies a design process informed by its surroundings. This vocabulary centers on the careful interchange of hard and soft lines, not unlike those that embank the adjacent Lady Bird Lake. Geometry and reflectivity are rendered in the nuanced juxtaposition of natural and manmade materials. Spatial layouts and an overall color palette directly reference the gentle ebb and flow of the waterbody just outside.
“44 East combines nature and design with the idea of home,” said Michael Hsu, founder and principal of MHOA. “It’s an unexpected expression of what beautiful, livable, modern spaces can be. It’s a completely designed experience, one that allows for a multitude of ways of living. It represents creativity and design without pretension.”
For this project, design isn’t just an aesthetic consideration, but one that is also carefully calibrated to offer homeowners the best services possible—facilitating, in part, the expanding range of activities domestic spaces are expected to accommodate today. Much of this consideration centers on allowing, through design, a seamless ability to disconnect from the pressures of city life.
While Lady Bird Lake serves as a backdrop to an expansive light-filled lobby, an inward-curving atrium brings in an equal amount of natural accent. Throughout, terrazzo flooring hosts an eclectic yet cohesive selection of vintage and contemporary furnishings. A pastel gradient colorway changes as one ascends the building.
The 11th floor operates as a kind of amenities level, complete with flexible work/play lounges and an amoeba-shaped pool overlooking yet another strategically angled view. Floor 37 features an additional lounge with violet-crown views of the Texas sky. Throughout the building, circular and curvilinear forms carry through everything from layered lattice-structure room dividers to pendant luminaires, and furnishings.