Q&A: A Look Into Merge Architects

In Houston, modern architecture is popping up in nearly every neighborhood. From East Downtown to Meyerland, modern homes are becoming a natural part of community landscapes. We’re partnering with Modern Home Tours to bring you the latest in these magnificent homes!

Visit our Facebook page for a chance to win two tickets to Modern Home Tours’ Houston showcase on Saturday, Sep. 26. For a crash course in modern architecture, we went to Merge Architects!

616ddb6d-1abe-4f73-afa9-af150c7778d3TRV: What is your favorite element of the Merge Architects home that is on tour?

MA: Our favorite element of the home is the overall response to the climatology including floodway danger mitigation. The form, the shading, the orientation of the windows for southern and northern exposure, the elevation of the home over the 100 year floodplain elevation and the articulation of its connection to the ground all adds to our favorite element.

TRV: What are the typical aesthetics of those looking to build a modern home?

MA: Those desiring a modern home appreciate high-design and are fashion-oriented people that already live a modern lifestyle, i.e. they typically minimize their efficiencies by living near work or desire to live near to work in order to maximize their home time and relationships.

People that desire a modern home come from all walks of life and every socio-economic group who have the means to do something, whether small, large or extra-large. We generally find them to be incredibly fun and open to new ideas and eager to explore the balance between pushing the edge of both design and their resources.

TRV: Other than the obvious design difference, what makes this home modern?

MA: This home exemplifies a “light” impact or touch on the land. This property is elevated above the flood plain with 36” of clear space between the bottom-most portion of the first floor frame and the ground. Most modern homes have a driver – a criteria by which the entire design is driven. This design is our response to the site’s environmental and climatologic condition.

This home is also located on a site that requires the worst desired orientation of the home in the southern climate – north/south where the larger expanses of the home are more exposed to the west sun. We overcame this negative condition by internalizing the home and creating constant shade where we open the house up with large windows. This reduces the overall solar heat gain and maximizes their indoor/outdoor experience for all seasons and weather conditions.

TRV: When building a modern home, where do you begin looking for inspiration?

MA: Inspiration is usually immediately apparent. The first thing I do is to listen to things that are important or idiosyncratic to the clients. Our clients have been fantastic in the fact that they come in on day one with program thoughts – facts, wants, needs, and goals. We share our design philosophy with them and encourage them to let a blank scratch sheet of paper be the first step in hiring us rather than be constrained from day one with a preconceived notion of what their home should be.

Ready to enter for a chance to see Houston’s best modern homes? Head to our Facebook page! You can also read about a few of the other homes on tour from Scott Ballard Architecture, studioMET Architects and Modern Home Tours on our blog.