Design Office

Austin, Texas

Located on North Lamar Boulevard just north of downtown Austin, Clayton Korte’s office embodies the firm’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and to fostering discourse in the design community. Officially named Design Office, the mid-century office space is home to a few design practices including: Clayton Korte, Word + Carr Design Group, Friends of Ours, and Smith Brand Studio.

The 1963, steel-framed, brick-infill building needed a lot of work, but Clayton Korte recognized the untapped potential of its raw spaces. The 10,000 square foot structure is two stories and set into the hillside abutting one of Austin’s principle thoroughfares. A severe slope and unstable soils meant the first order of business was stabilizing the structure. Following stabilization, the dreary interior was gutted to allow for a minimal set of new spaces.

The former utilitarian stair connecting the first and second floors was removed. The remaining opening was widened to accommodate a wood-wrapped stairway featuring a steel stringer with exposed weld joints and oil-finished post oak, harvested following a severe drought in 2011. Ceilings and floors remain raw. Plate steel baseboards continue the minimalist aesthetic. Custom steel windows and interior doors were fabricated in-house. A new, glass-and-steel façade welcomes visitors upon entry at the front of the building. Exterior brick is lime-washed, a simple durable finish traditionally used in the area.