A multi-family compound rises from a remote, grassy valley on the bank of the Frio River deep in the Texas Hill Country. The goal for this project was to create shelters with an environmental experience unique to its place where Summer madness gives way to Winter stillness. Where city life and digital stimulation are replaced by the experience of feeling a cool breeze or snuggling up to a warm fire.

Project Name: Camp Frio
Studio Name: Tim Cuppett Architects
Location: Austin, United States
Photography: Paul Finkel and Whit Preston

©Paul Finkel and Whit Preston

Structures consist of a main house, meditation room over art studio/garage, and two guest studio cottages. Main house and cottages are linked by a slightly elevated walkway which enables barefoot kids to run back and forth over the tall grass and creepie crawlers.

©Paul Finkel and Whit Preston

Much like “Dogtrot” shelters from the past, a “breezeway” bookended by concealed multi-slide doors, bisects the main house enabling alfresco dining most of the year; even in the sweltering Summer a cool breeze rises from the chilled river downhill.

©Paul Finkel and Whit Preston

Alternatively, the central space is zoned and can be enclosed for heating. Screened porches, front and back, envelope cozy living chambers. Secondary sleeping spaces occupy an attic that spans the rear porch of the main house while guest cottages feature open “kid’s” lofts.

©Paul Finkel and Whit Preston

Structures were detailed for simplicity of construction with readily available, local materials and fashioned by local tradesmen. Reporting after their first weekend in camp, the Owner enthusiastically announced that spaces “are cozy… but ample and gracious; dark and moody…. but bright and airy.”

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