Interior Design Award of Excellence: The Independent, Austin

Brett Rhode
Rhode Partners, Austin

Ryan Fetgatter
Vice President of Development
Aspen Heights Partners, Austin

Using Material and Structural Interplay to Create a Community in the Sky

As a multi-family residential project, The Independent’s interior spaces reflect a programmatic commitment to a “community in the sky.” The tower offers two entire floors of competitive and luxury condo amenities. From an elegant board room to a playful dog lounge, this project connects residents from 363 units with programmatic variance across 12 different amenity spaces. At the ground floor, the open-air lobby and mail area also serve as communal areas for residents to connect. On the ninth level, residents can enjoy a cantilevered pool, exterior deck, lounge, and an indoor club room, all with built-in appliances to support gatherings. A colorful playroom with built-in, exhibit-like features supports interactive play for families.

The Independent employs a sophisticated use of exposed structure, combined with a refined material palette. The floor-to-ceiling glass window wall in the 34th-floor sky lounge space was made possible by removing all structural elements from the perimeter, allowing for unimpeded 360-degree views. By leaving the tension rods that support extended cantilevers exposed, square footage in both amenity and living spaces is maximized, marrying the building’s structural engineering with sleek detailing.

Details are paramount and mirror structural elements. Residents are greeted with a large, live-edge walnut slab and a custom-brushed sheet-metal wall at the lobby desk. Exposed tie rods show formwork in the locally sourced fly-ash concrete, exposing the structure but maintaining elegance. Four specially fabricated mailboxes made of welded chrome and lacquered wood create a compelling structural feature to the lobby. A flowing walnut slat-pattern evokes movement on the wall behind the mailboxes, drawing interest from the street view.

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