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by Get Lost Houston


Houston architects Joe and Gail Adams of Adams Architects, Inc. recently aligned with their former clients from Houston’s Montrose District for another project together—this one in Houston’s alter-ego city, Dallas, Texas.

The primacy of the gardens over the residence itself was stated as the client’s goal, which encouraged the architects to approach the problem holistically, addressing gardenas something bigger and more significant as outdoor “rooms,” rather than just left-over real estate. The challenge came in with the client’s new skinny Dallas property bordering the Katy Trail, an urban pedestrian hikers’ and bicyclists’ linear public park situated in the Shee Shee Turtle Creek Uptown district of Dallas.


Adams Architects responded to their client’s desires with a long, thin, elegant residence design point-of-departure allowing the gardens to rule and the residence to open to the Eastern benign Texas light and close to the Western harsh Texas light. Dynamism reigns in this modestly sized scheme as it is the sheering effect of the formal, diagonal disposition of the residence proper along its long, narrow axis that gets the eye moving and rotating.

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Triangularly shaped side gardens in lieu of rectangular front and back “yards” emerged and yield one long side garden with due eastern-exposure as a so-called rear garden and one long side garden with due western-exposure as a front garden., Both front and rear triangular gardens intentionally benefit from the perceptually elongating visual phenomena of “forced-perspective,” as these gardens appear to be deeper, longer, and more extensive than they are. The resulting unique, triangularly shaped pool culminating in an artesian well fountain particularly benefits from this converging geometry, making the pool appear longer and more elegant than the confined outdoor space would allow.


“In short, this something of a sow’s-ear site turned into a silk-purse in the heart of one of Dallas’ premier silk-stocking residential districts, allowing all rooms to be flooded with defuse, east-facing, North Texas natural light,” says Joe Adams of Adams Architects. With the Houston architects’ bravado to experiment a little more with each new project, together with the clients’ willing spirit, the amalgam adds up to a certain hybrid vigor emerging from this Houston-to-Dallas exercise in creative, cultural cross-fertilization.


Although not in the Dallas neighborhood of Deep Ellum proper, the attitude of invoking that slightly edgy neighborhood character imported into this heavily treed micro-climate bordering the Katy Trail in upscale Dallas, was a subliminal motivation for design. Steel, stone, spunk, and of course light, are the primary ingredients of this simple but culturally progressive and provocative work of residential architecture.