Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, this second unit in an architecturally significant triplex features 858 square feet of midcentury charm.

The east side of the living space opens up to a spectacular double-story wall of glass framed by vertical wood mullions and horizontal aluminum H-channels. A six-foot roof overhang protects the glazing from solar gain.

Having worked under Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, modernist architect Harwell Hamilton Harris pioneered California Modern style across the nation, including in Austin, Texas.

There, nestled in a leafy neighborhood eight blocks from the University of Texas at Austin, sits the Cranfill-Beacham Apartments, a triplex of loft apartments considered one of Harris’ best works, which has also been recognized as a Historic Landmark at the local, state, and national level.

Hidden behind a 1930s bungalow on a remote street, the entrance to the Cranfill-Beacham Apartments is marked by a redwood pergola.

Hidden behind a 1930s bungalow on a remote street, the entrance to the Cranfill-Beacham Apartments is marked by a redwood pergola.

Andrea Calo/ Calo Photographic

English professor and art collector Thomas Cranfill commissioned the project in 1958 as an investment and to house his partner, respected photographer Hans Beacham, who had lived in the third unit until his death in 2004. Cranfill had lived next door in a landmark-status home, also designed by Harris during the architect’s term as The University of Texas at Austin’s first Dean of Architecture.

A massive oak tree is the focal point of the entry courtyard. The entrances to each unit are sheltered beneath the overhanging second-story balcony.

A massive oak tree is the focal point of the entry courtyard. The entrances to each unit are sheltered beneath the overhanging second-story balcony. 

Andrea Calo/ Calo Photographic

Harris designed Cranfill’s house and the apartments using California Modernist principles adapted to Austin’s climate and environment.

Board-and-batten redwood siding—Harris originally wanted to use Texas cypress, but defaulted to California redwood due to sourcing delays—clad the upper portion of the triplex, while the ground floor was constructed from concrete masonry blocks.

Exterior materials are repeated in the interior, from the board-and-batten redwood siding to the concrete masonry walls.

Exterior materials are repeated in the interior, from the board-and-batten redwood siding to the concrete masonry walls.

Andrea Calo/ Calo Photographic

See the full story on Dwell.com: Own an Iconic Midcentury in Austin For Just Under $500K

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