In Context: The Beck House, AIA Dallas 25 Year-Award Winner
In the North Dallas neighborhood of Preston Hollow stands a monumental 12,000-square-foot residence designed by the late Philip Johnson, FAIA.
Commissioned by wealthy local contractor Henry Beck and his wife Patricia, the 1964 modern-era house is on a 6.5-acre landscape overlooking Bachman Creek. The creek serves as the break-line dividing the estate. Bounded by rows of pecan trees and cedar elm groves, the house functions much like a viewing platform overlooking the natural landscape.
Perhaps its most defining feature that recalls Johnson’s touch is the exterior of the home. White concrete arches emerge from flared, concave-like columns that wrap around the home’s interior spaces on both levels of the house. This repetitive motif creates open-air loggias and arcades filled with natural light. It casts shadows that merge the surrounding outdoors with the crisp, Miesian-like detailing of the home’s interior. Inside, the material palate is an amalgamation of rich marble, travertine floors, and walnut paneling. Bronze and steel balustrades form alongside the curved double stairs that lay beside expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the rear estate.
Unfortunately, over the years the house began to show visible signs of its age and deterioration. In 2002, the house was sold and the new owners made the restoration efforts of the home a priority. Local architects Bodron+Fruit were hired to carefully restore and revive many aspects of the home’s interior and charm.
The architects focused on the domestic character of the home by implementing new designs for the kitchen, living, and dining areas. Alongside landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand, new water features were added as well as terraced concrete risers that cascade downward toward the creek and allow for easier passage between both sides of the estate.
AIA Dallas recognized this residence with its 25-Year Residential Award this year.
Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, is a project designer with Michael Malone Architects.