From the Spanish Colonial buildings on the University of Texas campus to the stately Victorians tucked away in Travis Heights to the Sears Roebuck kit homes that line the streets of Holly, one of the most compelling things about Austin architecture is its lack of cohesion. Unlike, say, the craftsmans of Seattle or the brownstones of Boston, the capital of Texas has no one true signature style, instead weaving together dozens of different designs that change from neighborhood to neighborhood, and sometimes even from one street to the next.
Since 1953, Preservation Austin has shone a spotlight on Austin architecture through advocacy, preservation, and community events like its Preservation Austin Homes Tour. On April 28, the homes tour returns for another year with "Into the Woods," an examination of homes in the East Austin neighborhoods of Cherrywood, Delwood, and Wilshire Wood.
"These East Austin neighborhoods are quintessential Austin, with small homes, big trees, a great sense of community, and great architecture," explains Preservation Austin in a release. "By sharing their fascinating histories and preservation successes, Preservation Austin hopes to inspire others to embrace and invest in our city’s history."
The seven properties on this year's tour were built between 1947-1960, and have been carefully preserved to reflect the original style, yet adapted to meet modern needs and growing families. Among the highlights are the Delwood II cottages, a series of three sister houses which have been renovated by three different architects with three very different approaches.
Also on the tour is a 1952 home that was originally slated for demolition. In the spirit of preservation, the home was purchased and the new owner undertook a lengthy renovation which included the restoration of the home's original two-sided fireplace and the construction of a Palm Springs-style pool.
This year's self-guided tour runs from 10 am-4 pm, and kicks off at Mueller’s 1943 Browning Hangar. Bike Austin will be providing racks at all tour stops, and even created a bikeable directions sheet to help optimize the tour route. Following the tour, attendees are invited to join Preservation Austin for an after party at Batch Craft Beer + Kolaches. Tickets for the 2018 Preservation Austin Homes Tour are $25 for members, $35 for non-members, and can be purchased here.