Mountain Villa Circle Featured in Austin HOME Magazine, Fall 2012

If you grew up in Central Texas, chances are you spent a great deal of your childhood playing in the woods. You’d waste hours under the shade of giant tree branches, playing Swiss Family Robinson in homemade tree forts and making cool discoveries about bugs and how dirty you can make your blue jeans. For some, those days never got old.

That’s the case for a young techie, who, in 2009, set out on a search for a new home. He became totally captivated by a contemporary two-story house nearly hidden by ancient oak trees in the Northwest Hills. Myriad floor-to-ceiling windows in the house made walking through the space feel like a stroll through the woods. He was sold. And that’s when the cool discoveries began.

The homeowner, a local tech-industry entrepreneur who got his start in software development and who asked to remain anonymous, approached Austin-based husband and wife architects Ulrich Dangel and Tami Glass, who own the firm Glass and Dangel, and who are professors at the UT School of Architecture, to help with a remodel of the house. Soon, through their research, the architects discovered that the unique home in the forest was an original design by famed local architect Alan Taniguchi, the former dean of UT’s architecture school and former director of Rice University’s School of Architecture.

They were both already familiar with Taniguchi’s work, since the architect, who died in 1998, was an eminent influence on the mid-century modern home designs of the lower Rio Grande Valley. His father, Isamu, was responsible for the creation of the Japanese garden at Zilker Botanical Gardens, a style that influenced his son’s adoption of expertly creating spaces that are in tune with their surrounding environments.

“We felt privileged and honored to work on one of their projects,” Glass says. “We feel like the success of our work was because we had such a great base to build upon.”

As they pressed on, they unearthed more gems about the site. They found the house had won a Texas Society of Architects Award in 1982 and discovered that Evan Taniguchi, Alan’s son, was also an architect who still had a small firm in Austin. When they reached out to him, Evan was able to locate parts of the original hand-drawn sketches to give Dangel and Glass insight into the house’s origins.