written by:
photos by:
July 2, 2010

A film writer and director asked Austin, Texas–based architect Henry Panton to build a bunkhouse with a huge screen porch for family and guests on his 40-acre property in Bastrop, Texas, about 30 miles outside Austin. Situated over a dry creek bed and carefully crafted around the existing loblolly pine trees, the bunkhouse “is sort of like a bridge into the woods,” says Panton, who adds that the 1,400-square-foot structure, which can comfortably accommodate well over a dozen people, is used often by the director, his wife and three children, and their extended family and friends. “They have a lot of sleepovers,” says the architect.

A screen porch runs the entire length of building, built over a dry creek bed on embedded concrete piers. The architect says he worked with the varying topography and native pines, turning the building 30 degrees at one point to accommodate the natural co
A screen porch runs the entire length of building, built over a dry creek bed on embedded concrete piers. The architect says he worked with the varying topography and native pines, turning the building 30 degrees at one point to accommodate the natural contours of the land.
Photo by 
1 / 17
A stone path leads from a gravel parking area to the entrance, fronted by a wide stair and small porch. “Since we had to slot it in between so many trees with such vertical proportions, we decided our building would have vertical proportions,” says Panton
A stone path leads from a gravel parking area to the entrance, fronted by a wide stair and small porch. “Since we had to slot it in between so many trees with such vertical proportions, we decided our building would have vertical proportions,” says Panton. At left is the enclosed bunkroom, with the double-height screen porch at right.
Photo by 
2 / 17
The opposite side of the bunkhouse, with the only enclosed bedroom, which leads to a small galley kitchen and two bathrooms, at right. This exit leads to a path to a nearby footbridge, swimming pool and outdoor bathhouse.
The opposite side of the bunkhouse, with the only enclosed bedroom, which leads to a small galley kitchen and two bathrooms, at right. This exit leads to a path to a nearby footbridge, swimming pool and outdoor bathhouse.
Photo by 
3 / 17
Texas bunkhouse facade.
The structure was built onto a concrete-and-steel base. At left is the porch, pre-screening; at right is a cantilevered outdoor shower off the bathroom. The exterior cladding is cedar, stained in four different colors then placed randomly “for a different palette of colors, like a blend of bricks,” says Panton. “The owner’s favorite color is purple, so we added a purple board here and there.”
Photo by 
4 / 17
The bunkhouse and path beyond.
The bunkhouse and path beyond.
Photo by 
5 / 17
An aluminum-and-glass door, chosen for its ability to handle exposure to water, leads from the bathroom to the outdoor shower.
An aluminum-and-glass door, chosen for its ability to handle exposure to water, leads from the bathroom to the outdoor shower.
Photo by 
6 / 17
The nine-by-three-foot mahogany entrance door is meant to evoke the surrounding trees. The iron handrails lining the base of the porch are a subtle architectural detail, as well as a support system to prevent the cabin from ever twisting or shifting “like
The nine-by-three-foot mahogany entrance door is meant to evoke the surrounding trees. The iron handrails lining the base of the porch are a subtle architectural detail, as well as a support system to prevent the cabin from ever twisting or shifting “like so many old Texas outbuildings,” says Panton.
Photo by 
7 / 17
A view across the screen porch from the entrance to the kitchen, with the horizontal window, and the bedroom, reached through the French doors at rear left.
A view across the screen porch from the entrance to the kitchen, with the horizontal window, and the bedroom, reached through the French doors at rear left.
Photo by 
8 / 17
Several sets of aluminum-and-glass French doors open from the bunkroom onto the screen porch. Panton and his team made the dining table and benches on-site; the tongue-and-groove benches and table legs are locally milled cedar, and the top is Brazilian Ti
Several sets of aluminum-and-glass French doors open from the bunkroom onto the screen porch. Panton and his team made the dining table and benches on-site; the tongue-and-groove benches and table legs are locally milled cedar, and the top is Brazilian Tigerwood.
Photo by 
9 / 17
A view back toward the entrance. The purlin ceiling beneath the porch’s gabled Galvalum roof is made up of two-by-four cedar strips. A frieze of screened openings runs the length of the building, allowing a cross-breeze and extra light in, while ceiling f
A view back toward the entrance. The purlin ceiling beneath the porch’s gabled Galvalum roof is made up of two-by-four cedar strips. A frieze of screened openings runs the length of the building, allowing a cross-breeze and extra light in, while ceiling fans keep the air circulating in summer. “Animals, from deer to raccoons to all kinds of birds, come right up to the porch,” says Panton.
Photo by 
10 / 17
Panton placed several custom-made queen-size steel-and-wood bunk beds inside the bunkroom. All the beds are on wheels and fit through the double-side door openings, so they can be easily rolled into the porch for sleeping. Complementing the locally milled
Panton placed several custom-made queen-size steel-and-wood bunk beds inside the bunkroom. All the beds are on wheels and fit through the double-side door openings, so they can be easily rolled into the porch for sleeping. Complementing the locally milled, insect-resistant cedar bunkroom ceiling are floors of purple-stained white oak (bunkroom) and the especially durable Brazilian Tigerwood (screen porch).
Photo by 
11 / 17
The HVAC unit inside the bunkroom is rarely used, but was installed for use during humid days and chilly nights.
The HVAC unit inside the bunkroom is rarely used, but was installed for use during humid days and chilly nights.
Photo by 
12 / 17
The architectural relationship between the bunkroom and porch, and the bunkhouse and the surrounding forest, is especially apparent at dusk, when the building reads as a kind of illuminated lantern.
The architectural relationship between the bunkroom and porch, and the bunkhouse and the surrounding forest, is especially apparent at dusk, when the building reads as a kind of illuminated lantern.
Photo by 
13 / 17
“I wanted more of a skeletal look for this house, and less of a chunky, log-cabin look,” says Panton, who added stark steel bracing across the entire length of the porch’s roof structure.
“I wanted more of a skeletal look for this house, and less of a chunky, log-cabin look,” says Panton, who added stark steel bracing across the entire length of the porch’s roof structure.
Photo by 
14 / 17
The floor plan exemplifies the thin proportions of the bunkhouse, and its 30-degree turn. The bunkroom measures just over 800 square feet, and the screen porch, around 600. Image courtesy Henry Panton.
The floor plan exemplifies the thin proportions of the bunkhouse, and its 30-degree turn. The bunkroom measures just over 800 square feet, and the screen porch, around 600. Image courtesy Henry Panton.
Photo by 
15 / 17
Near the bunkhouse, Panton built a wood-and-steel footbridge spanning 90 feet across another dry creek leading to the path to a swimming pool and outdoor bathhouse.
Near the bunkhouse, Panton built a wood-and-steel footbridge spanning 90 feet across another dry creek leading to the path to a swimming pool and outdoor bathhouse.
Photo by 
16 / 17
With its Brazilian Tigerwood enclosures, the outdoor bathhouse, which includes showers, sinks and dressing areas, references the nearby bunkhouse.
With its Brazilian Tigerwood enclosures, the outdoor bathhouse, which includes showers, sinks and dressing areas, references the nearby bunkhouse.
Photo by 
17 / 17
A screen porch runs the entire length of building, built over a dry creek bed on embedded concrete piers. The architect says he worked with the varying topography and native pines, turning the building 30 degrees at one point to accommodate the natural co
A screen porch runs the entire length of building, built over a dry creek bed on embedded concrete piers. The architect says he worked with the varying topography and native pines, turning the building 30 degrees at one point to accommodate the natural contours of the land.
Project 
Bunkhouse Residence
Architect 

To see images of the project, please visit the slideshow.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016
1973 Palm Springs home
Made for casual design enthusiasts and Palm Springs connoisseurs alike, Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern offers a peek into 51 buildings—some not open to the public—in that Southern California mecca of modernism. Begun in 2008 by photographer Dan Chavkin, the book is set for release this February 9th and will be available on Amazon and at multiple venues of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 11 - 21. Here we preview some of its images.
February 03, 2016
Millennial concept home with an outdoor living area
A concept home aims to reflect the requests of the Millennial market.
February 03, 2016
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom that follows the pitch of the roof. “The stair and railings were very simple,” Depardon observes. “We added a bit of design, with panels
Skylights needn't be simple overhead daylighting; sometimes they can truly define a room.
February 03, 2016
Modern small space Rhode Island cottage with landscaping and cedar cladding
Surrounded by nature, these cottages are tranquil retreats from the city.
February 03, 2016
The couple kept original touches, including the arch.
Historic archways belie these contemporary homes with physical reminders of each structure's storied past.
February 03, 2016
modern guesthouse in norway with angular facade and cutaway patio with spruce cladding and ikea chair
These houses make room for nature, not the other way around.
February 02, 2016
Modern kitchen with yellow sectioned walls and monochrome appliances
Whether it's a splash of color or bold strokes, this collection of interiors brightens up these homes.
February 02, 2016
Rust-washed concrete wall in Moscow apartment renovation.
This 590-square-foot apartment was stripped down to admit sunlight and dramatically reveal forgotten surfaces.
February 02, 2016