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Clayton Korte reveals Backwards Sky Ranch, a minimalist, materially rich house that straddles the boundary between an open meadow and a river

Project name:
Backwards Sky Ranch
Architecture firm:
Clayton Korte
Central Texas, USA
Tools used:
Principal architect:
Brian Korte FAIA, Principal
Design team:
Brian Korte FAIA, Principal. Camden Greenlee AIA, Architect/Design Lead. Javier Castro AIA, Architect. Josh Nieves, Project Manager. Brandon Tharp, Design Team
Built area:
exterior space (3,284 sft²) rivals interior space (4,427 ft²)
Site area:
46 acre
Design year:
Completion year:
Scott Williamson, P.E. (Structural Engineer), Studio Outside (Landscape Design), Acton Partners (Envelope Consultant), InTEC of San Antonio (Geotechnical Engineer)
In Process

Clayton Korte: In the Hill Country of central Texas, the Backwards Sky Ranch House straddles the boundary between an open meadow to the south and the sharply carved bank of the Dry Frio River to the north. The living spaces are perched above and run parallel to the river, offering the owners uninterrupted access and views to the river valley. To the south and west, a massive stone spine shelters these living spaces from the harsh summer sun, taking advantage of large roof overhangs and operable shade screens. Here, exterior space (3,284 square feet) rivals interior space (4,427 square feet).

Limestone walls reflect the natural stone outcroppings found on the 46-acre property and the tongue-and-groove cedar siding is meant to naturally patina with age, providing both a natural honesty to the structure and reduced maintenance. A central dog run porch serves as the main entry and a bridge between the living spaces and master suite. Extending towards the river from this dog run is a long elevated “pier” that not only projects the owners and guests out into the open valley of the river, but also provides a privileged perspective for stargazing. In this house, the incredible landscape is never far away.

By Liliana Alvarez

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