Photo by Leonid Furmansky

It will never stop being delicious to get that little insider’s peek into someone’s home, even if it’s part of an official tour. For the curious and the creative, the AIA Austin Homes Tour returns for its 36th year of inspiring mental notes about storage hacks and wall colors this weekend, on October 22 and 23. Spend all the time you want staring at the perfect pots and pans display and skip the stairwell you could never commit to — this is a self-guided tour.

This is the tour’s first year as in-person-only after going virtual and hybrid in 2020 and 2021. Tour takers will explore nine new and recently renovated homes by local architects from Westlake to Pleasant Valley.

The work of nine architects is represented on the tour by The Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Austin):

  • Cuppett Kilpatrick Architects
  • Candace Wong Architecture + Design
  • Dick Clark + Associates
  • Erica Heroy Architecture and Design
  • Lake|Flato
  • Forge Craft Architecture + Design with Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects
  • Furman + Keil Architects
  • Lemmo Architecture and Design
  • Studio Steinbomer

A list of addresses on the website gives sneak peeks into each home, with photos, a short description, and a pre-tour webinar to make sure viewers catch important design details.

Eco-friendliness is a throughline: one residence at Bull Creek was awarded a five-star rating by Austin Energy Green Building thanks to work by Studio Steinbomer, and another by the Forge Craft-Hugh Jefferson Randolph partnership applies passive house standards for a minimal footprint in “a hot, humid climate.”

House Zero by Lake|Flato is not just a smart design, but a careful experiment. “House Zero is a demonstration project and field trial for a proprietary concrete wall printing system,” says the description. “This climate-responsive new home, which includes an accessory dwelling unit, connects inhabitants to a native Texas landscape and diverse Austin neighborhood fabric. The design team collaborated with software developers, robotics engineers, and material scientists to create a new set of architectural innovations and strategies for printed concrete construction.”

Something most of the houses share is a connection to past structures and the historical importance of their lots. The Wildflower House by Erica Heroy Architecture and Design remodels a house from the 1950s, while the Vastu House by Dick Clark + Associates updates the owner’s childhood home using design principles far older than even the original structure.

“There is no better way to experience architecture than to explore it in person, and I’m thrilled that we can offer that to the public again for the 36th anniversary of this tour,” said AIA Austin Executive Director Ingrid Spencer in a press release. “From the range of home sizes, budgets, styles, and innovative and sustainable technologies featured on this tour, there will be something to inspire and delight everyone.”

Tickets ($45 general admission, $50 day-of) are available at aiaaustinhomestour.com. VIP tickets ($95) include a swag bag and access to a VIP party on Friday, October 21.

Photo by Leonid Furmansky

The AIA Austin Homes Tour includes nine homes that merge Ausinites' interior spaces with well-loved surroundings. (Pictured: Stenger No. 2 by Candace Wong Architecture + Design)

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The "world's rudest" diner is coming to Austin, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. A diner with the "world's rudest service" is coming to Austin...like, whenever. Karen’s Diner provides the worst service for the best experience, at least according to cheeky clientele who appreciate the campy comedy of a long-suffering server.

2. Award-winning New York pub brings Irish hospitality to Austin's Sixth Street. The Dead Rabbit pub is bringing Ireland to Texas, opening a new location in downtown Austin.

3. Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching Austin. The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1, and its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago.

4. 6 Austin restaurants score coveted James Beard Award nominations. Austin restaurants and bars earned both national and regional recognition, with three national nominations and three nominations for Best Chef: Texas.

5. 2 Austin suburbs cash in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Lakeway has been renamed the fifth richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study, while Bee Cave moved from No. 13 in 2022 to No. 9 this year.

Austin's flagship Kendra Scott store transforms into mini-Museum of Ice Cream for Valentine's Day

Sweet On You

Roses are red, violets are blue, and it's almost February, which means the season of love is upon us. Whether you're looking for the perfect Instagram backdrop or the perfect gift for your Galentine, Valentine — or just a treat for yourself — one particularly sweet collaboration has you covered.

Starting February 1, Austin's own Kendra Scott is partnering with the Museum of Ice Cream to "spread joy, inspire human connection, and reimagine the way we experience ice cream and jewelry just in time for Valentine’s Day," according to a release.

An extension of Scott's “Sweet on You” Valentine’s Day campaign, the partnership will feature an immersive, experiential retail component in the bustling Kendra Scott flagship location on South Congress, as well as a custom ice cream flavor, opportunities to give back, and more.

For an immersive retail experience, the event space at the flagship store will be transformed into a mini-Museum of Ice Cream appropriately dressed with bananas, baubles, and hearts galore. If you've never made it to the renowned museum housed at the Domain, this is your chance to get a literal taste of the experience, while shopping for trinkets and treasures at the same time.

Both companies prioritize giving back as key pillars of their brand, so it's only fitting that the duo will be surprising three schools in Austin, Chicago, and New York with February ice cream parties as part of their partnership. Children at participating schools will be able to enjoy the exclusive Kendra Scott x Museum of Ice Cream flavor while crafting their own Museum of Ice Cream cardboard truck. Each classroom will also receive an Amazon gift card to offset teaching supplies, and Kendra Scott will provide each student with a yellow rose to give alongside Valentine’s messages for their friends, family, teacher, or crush.

Taking place from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, a public event on Febuary 1 will formally celebrate the launch of the partnership. Guests will be able to check out the collaborative, immersive shopping experience while shopping Kendra Scott’s new Valentine's Day Collection, enjoying free ice cream and treats from the Museum of Ice Cream and the Sips & Sweets Café.

RSVP to the public event here, and start shopping the Valentine's Day collection here.

Texas-based Cinemark theater chain hosts Oscars-themed movie marathon

Awards News

The Cinemark movie chain is giving movie buffs an opportunity to brush up on the Oscars.

Plano-based Cinemark Holdings, Inc. will host its annual Oscar Movie Week festival, this year running from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 12, in anticipation of the 95th Oscars ceremony, which airs on March 12 on ABC.

The theater chain will air all of this year’s Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees, at more than 120 participating Cinemark theaters nationwide.

According to a release, passes are now on sale now at Cinemark.com/movieweek.

A full Digital Festival Pass is $40 and includes showings for all Best Picture and Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees. There's a perk! If you purchase a festival pass, you get 50 percent off any size popcorn during Oscar Movie Week.

Individual showtime tickets will be available starting January 27 at standard pricing, with showtimes beginning March 6.

All Best Live Action and Animated Short Film nominees are bundled into one viewing for just $10 from March 10-12.

For other brushing up, take a look back at what CultureMap’s film critic, Alex Bentley, had to say about each of the nominees (listed in alphabetical order) when they were originally released.

Cinemark has been hosting other similar marathon events such its collaboration with ESPN to bring college football games to the big screen.

The event takes place at these theaters across the U.S., including the following locations in Texas:

  • Austin: Cinemark Southpark Meadows
  • Denton: Cinemark 14
  • Fort Worth: Ridgmar Mall
  • Grapevine: Cinemark Tinseltown
  • Houston: Cinemark Memorial City
  • Plano: Cinemark Legacy
  • Plano: Cinemark West Plano
  • San Antonio: Cinemark San Antonio 16
  • The Woodlands: Cinemark 17