Sendaro del Faro Kayak Club

A current project on the boards at Franke : Franke is design of a second residence to be located on Redfish Pass Channel, between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas, Texas.  We’re excited to be involved as Architect, Landscape Architect, and Design+Builder for the proposed Kayak Club and short term rental residence.  The site building area is impacted by a myriad of mandates and strict limitations that range across local, State, and Federal jurisdictions – but paradise is not lost – it just needed to be discovered through careful site study, and a design that is inspired by the vastness of the open coastal land and seascape.  Our design also jumped all of the regulatory hurdles by working from conceptual diagram iterations to a specific plan that supports the aspirations of the owner and creates an expanding series of visually and physically connected interior and exterior spaces.  This waterfront retreat is designed to orient and embrace the unobstructed eastward view across the maze of Mangroves and estuarine systems that make up the vast Lighthouse Trails, a Texas State preserve and kayak park, to the distant Lydia Ann Lighthouse, Aransas Bay, and the Gulf on the horizon.

The design process has taken us in an architectural direction of an open form solution, with ample covered decks and a dogtrot-like breezeway that draws one into the residence and through to the grand environment beyond, while also graciously meeting a street side approach from State Highway 361 to the west.  The street side entry and eastward views are captured by exposed structural elements and a graceful butterfly roof designed to support an opportunity for a single collection-point rainwater storage system that will provide irrigation and non-potable water for use on site.   Long, east facing lanais at both the lower and upper levels provide unlimited access for kayak launches below, and the stunning views from the upper level deck.

As part of a mandate by the US Army Corps of Engineers for the residence to provide short-term water-based recreational rental opportunities for visitors, the limited conditioned space is separated into two levels, with a bunkhouse on the lower floor that has been raised to a finished elevation sufficient to allow it to be used as conditioned space. The main house level on the uppermost floor is appointed with two master suites, a great room with unobstructed easterly views and a high performance kitchen equipped to prepare the catch-of-the day in style, and be the center of activity after a day on the water. 


 More to come as construction begins soon . . . in the meantime, enjoy the view.


Vision for a New Campus Landscape Master Plan

Franke : Franke was honored to be invited to return to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church to work as the project Landscape Architect for the Master Plan of their campus in Westlake Hills, Texas, in collaboration with Heimsath Architects.  Heimsath and the Church’s Master Plan Committee had established a thoughtful space diagram that both added architectural components and edited out existing structures.  The group came to the conclusion that resulting changes to the site had created a series of exterior spaces that needed to be well planned and conceptually designed as landscape rooms and connectors in order to take full advantage of the parti established in the initial site Master Plan.

F:F was especially pleased to be included on the team during this important juncture of growth and efforts in the life of the Church, since we had previously served as the Design+Build Architect and Landscape Architect for an earlier design work on the campus, the Shepherd of the Hills Grace Memorial Garden.  In part, by reflecting on the importance of Grace Garden to members of the congregation, and considering the new opportunities in the Master Plan to create equally special spaces and places throughout the campus, F:F developed a landscape Master Plan based on the premise of linking an unfolding series of landscapes.   Included in the plan:

  • development of a multi-use “church yard” space for large groups and special gatherings and services
  • multiple intimate prayer and meditation gardens and spaces
  • visible and interconnected surface storm water management and educational bio-infiltration system for reduced water consumption in the landscape
  • special butterfly garden for the Butterfly Preschool and new play yard
  • redesigned vehicular and pedestrian circulation with new primary entrance from Bee Cave Road
  • discrete terraces to provide daily outdoor cafe like spaces
  • youth group campfire ring and barbecue picnic space
  • walking trails that complete a connective loop through the entire natural landscape
  • developed walkways and promenades. 

Critical to the campus’ future community identity and impact as a welcoming place within Westlake is a completely redesigned street frontage, entry and gateway envisioned by the design team.  From this gateway, as well as two new walkways connecting the planned Bee Cave Road sidewalks to the campus interior, native planting masses were added and designed circulation ways guide visitors into and through the campus.  A separate loop drive and parking area will form the threshold and safety zone specific to the new entry of the Butterfly Preschool. Other traffic is clearly directed without conflict to various church and multi-use areas.  The new public entry and face of the campus is designed to include mass plantings of seasonal native color and interest, and subdued landscape lighting with signage and gateways integrated into a low stone wall formed in a great arc spanning the entire width of the campus’ frontage on Bee Cave Road.  Shepherd of the Hills sees the future phased build out of the Master Plan as a result of important milestones of growth, and most importantly, of the value that it places on offering the larger community a place for spiritual respite and reflection in the fast paced, high speed world that Westlake Hills now finds itself part of.