Dallas Austin — media mogul, record and entertainment producer — built and lives in a futuristically modern residence in Atlanta. Made possible by the proliferation of CAD design processes, “Austintonian” — as the owner likes to call the 8,200-square-foot home — required three years to build and confounded many of the surrounding estate owners as this biomorphic form took shape.
Living at the time of construction about a block from Austinonian, I can attest to the consternation garnered. While Southern-manse-owning neighbors gasped, I grinned profusely. Finally… someone with clearly significant means implementing progressive architecture in Atlanta! Perhaps hope did exist for a modern outlook in the ATL after all, I thought.
About the home’s location, Austin relayed, “It’s funny because I used to come to this neighborhood as a kid. The governor’s mansion is near here… and the affluent homes… and I used to ride through and see the cars and houses, thinking: ‘Man, one day I want to live in that neighborhood.’”
Dallas knew what he wanted… fulfillment of a youthful vision: “I’ve loved architecture since I was a kid. When I started to build my home I wanted a round house for some reason. I wanted it to be timeless, not white, square and stucco. So I met with this architect out of Portland, Michael Czysz, who’d done a studio for Lenny Kravitz, and is a different kind of designer. I took him to look at places like Nike Town stores and Frank Lloyd Wright houses. I kept saying: ‘I want this house to look like it’s from the future, a long time ago’ — very ‘Barbarella’ or ‘2010.’”
Austintonian sits like a lunar yacht in the basin of a wooded 3 1/2-acre lot. The smooth white stucco exterior is punctuated every now and then with portholes, and parts of the roof, rising like the prows of the mother ship, recall Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
The house is composed of two ellipses: one is the two-story main house, while the other, reached via an enclosed bridge, is the master suite. In both pavilions, the architect shunned corners and eliminated base moldings, door frames, and headers. Curves are emphasized by shiny materials reminiscent of German automotive interiors—warmed up by shag, lamb, and suede.
The main entry — ensconced behind a small reflecting pool and a bamboo garden — is where shoes are removed and guests slips into white scuffs to protect the espresso-stained walnut floor. Dominated by a massive round column, the space creates a “submerged” feeling, with only one slanted oval window looking out. Much of the remaining ground level is composed of four guest rooms and a media room equipped with a custom viewing screen and lounge area.
A spiral staircase and an elevator lead upstairs to the living area — opening to a terrace and an infinity pool via aluminum-framed doors in the glass curtain wall. The living area’s enormous white leather-covered sectional sofa and ottoman are situated for the view, while the back of the sofa follows the curve of a semicircular scrim defining the kitchen.