Westlake Hills, nestled gently in the heart of Texas, offers more than just serene landscapes and a warm community vibe. It is home to architectural wonders that tell tales of history, design, and inspiration. Each structure, carved out meticulously by master architects, is a testament to the city's rich past and a beacon for its future. This article explores some of the most iconic landmarks in and around Westlake Hills, taking readers on a journey through time and space.
French Legation State Historic Site
The French Legation Historic Site in Austin, Texas, stands as a reminder of Texas’ colorful past when it was an independent nation. The French Legation was built in 1841 to represent France's interests in the then Republic of Texas. Architecturally, the building is a prime example of the Creole design, prevalent in regions influenced by French colonialism. The one-and-a-half-story wood-framed structure embodies features like a steeply pitched hipped roof, broad eaves, and a deep front porch. The house's exterior is covered in wooden clapboard, and the overall appearance evokes a sense of rustic simplicity. Symmetry is a key feature, with the central hallway flanked by rooms on either side. The interiors are tastefully done, with period-appropriate furnishings and details. Over the years, the house has undergone several restorations to maintain its original charm while ensuring its continued relevance as a historic site and museum.
Texas State Capitol
Located in downtown Austin, the Texas State Capitol is a magnificent architectural landmark that houses the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Governor. Completed in 1888, the Renaissance Revival structure boasts a prominent dome that rises 308 feet above ground level, making it one of the tallest capitol buildings in the U.S. The building was constructed using Texas red granite, giving it a distinctive pink hue. Architect Elijah E. Myers incorporated design elements such as Corinthian columns, intricate carvings, and expansive terraces. The central rotunda showcases portraits of past governors and a star-adorned floor, all beneath the majestic dome, which lets in natural light through an oculus. The Capitol grounds are spread over 22 acres, adorned with statues, monuments, and meticulously landscaped areas.
Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
The Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge is a testament to modern urban design, providing a safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists over Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Designed by architects at the Carter Design Associates, the bridge was completed in 2001. This functional yet aesthetically pleasing structure showcases a mix of steel and concrete in its construction. The bridge’s design includes several arcs and viewing platforms, allowing visitors to pause and enjoy the picturesque views of the city skyline and the serene waters below. The lighting fixtures integrated into the bridge provide gentle illumination at night, enhancing the ambiance. The Pfluger Bridge is a transportation conduit and a place for recreation, exercise, and relaxation.
An iconic symbol of the University of Texas at Austin, the UT Tower stands at 307 feet tall, dominating the campus skyline. Completed in 1937, the Tower is designed in a Beaux-Arts architectural style. Its design features limestone walls, setbacks, and a pronounced observation deck. Above the clock faces on each side, the tower culminates in a belfry and a pyramidal roof. The clock itself is a significant element, with a diameter of nearly 14 feet. Architect Paul Philippe Cret, who was behind the Tower's design, ensured that it encapsulated both function and form. Over the years, the Tower has become an academic edifice and a cultural symbol known for its lighting configurations, signifying various university achievements and events.
The Blanton Museum of Art
Established as part of the University of Texas at Austin, The Blanton Museum of Art boasts a modern and contemporary architectural style. The museum’s current design, completed in the early 21st century, showcases a minimalist aesthetic with clean lines and vast expanses of glass, allowing natural light to flood the interior spaces. The building's façade is characterized by a mix of stone, metal, and glass, giving it a sleek, contemporary feel. Inside, the museum has spacious, open-plan galleries that provide flexible spaces for displaying a diverse range of artworks. The architectural design promotes fluidity, guiding visitors seamlessly from one exhibition space to another. Apart from the exhibits, the architecture stands as a testament to the blending of form, function, and artistry.
Neill-Cochran House Museum
Built in 1855, the Neill-Cochran House Museum is a splendid example of the Greek Revival architectural style. Commissioned by Washington L. Hill and later inhabited by the Neill and Cochran families, this historic home features classical proportions, symmetrical façades, and iconic Doric columns. The home's exterior is constructed from limestone, giving it a sturdy and timeless appearance. One of the most notable features of this museum is its temple-like front portico, a nod to ancient Greek temples. Inside, the museum showcases period-appropriate furnishings, offering visitors a window into 19th-century life in Austin. The well-preserved interiors, complete with high ceilings, plaster moldings, and antique furnishings, provide a rich historical context for the city's early days.
The Haskell House is a fascinating representation of early Texas architecture. Originating from the mid-19th century, this structure primarily exhibits the Greek Revival style, which was immensely popular during that era, especially in the American South. Key architectural features of the Haskell House include symmetrical façades, a gabled roof, and large, prominent columns that flank the entrance. The home showcases a simplistic elegance, with wooden construction and a porch that runs the width of the façade, offering shade and a space for social interaction. The house's interiors have been modified over time but retain some of the original elements, such as hardwood floors and window placements, providing glimpses into the lifestyle of Austin's early inhabitants. The Haskell House stands as an emblem of a time when Austin was rapidly growing and evolving.
The Robinson-Macken House is a delightful portrayal of Victorian-era architecture. Built in the late 19th century, this house is characterized by intricate woodwork, bay windows, and an asymmetrical layout — all hallmark features of Victorian homes. The house also incorporates a unique blend of architectural styles, combining Queen Anne and Italianate elements. Features like tall, narrow windows, ornate brackets under the eaves, and a distinctive wrap-around porch give the Robinson-Macken House its distinct appearance. The interior design is consistent with the exterior, boasting high ceilings, ornate moldings, and spacious rooms, reflecting the elegance and grandeur of the Victorian age in Austin.
Each architectural gem near Westlake Hills offers a unique experience, a journey through time, and an intimate rendezvous with history. These structures serve as reminders of the city's illustrious past and the bright future it beckons.
Find Westlake Hills real estate with UMLAUF Properties Group
Westlake Hills architecture is impressive and diverse, with its real estate offerings boasting numerous designs and styles catering to a broad range of buyer preferences. UMLAUF Properties Group, with its dedicated team of seasoned professionals, prioritizes authenticity, respect, and client success, ensuring everyone finds their dream home in Westlake Hills. If you're looking to buy or sell a home or have any questions about Westlake Hills architecture, contact UMLAUF Properties Group