Building for the Future

Meet the Austin architects who believe we can live beautifully while conscious of our environment

Pioneers of Green Building movement, Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture have been devoted to providing comfortable, energy-efficient, high-performance architecture to central Texans for over 30 years.

Peter L. Pfeiffer, FAIA, President and Founding Shareholder of Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture fills us in on what they’ve achieved so far – and the things we should all be looking for in our next home.

“As you look at the homes that are published these days, the vast majority of them repeat a trendy modern aesthetic that simply ignores the hot spring, summer and fall sun in our area, as well as in much of North America now thanks to climate change – including the discomfort and eye-strain that comes along with that, to say nothing of excessively high energy bills,” explains Pfeiffer. “They look trendy, but don’t live as well as they should, and I doubt they will be easy to take care of over the years, let alone the decades. 

This is because the homes (and buildings) are not designed to shelter you very effectively from both the hot sun and the weather (rain).  Such buildings may look trendy and cool but will get unnecessarily hot in the summer, be uncomfortable on a cold winter day, and their exterior finishes will fade, chip, get dirty and deteriorate. We approach things with our clients from a more mature perspective - we’ve been at this for over three decades now and seen at least three trendy styles come and go!

We can achieve statement homes that provide luxurious living because they respond so well to the climate - and climate change.  They also become timeless.  They look good with their proportional lines and massing, and are more comfortable inside.  You live a better life, get sick less often, can enjoy glare-free reading with better use of reflected natural light, among many attributes.  These homes have a more consistent temperature and humidity control from room to room, deal with sound and noise particularly well and last longer before the homeowner must invest in expensive maintenance.  As a bonus, they tread very lightly on the environment – allowing the homeowner to live particularly well with a smaller carbon footprint.   

Finally, yes one can always invest in high-tech materials and solutions that ameliorate the negative effects of poor climate responsiveness by design – such as solar panels, Tesla batteries and other high-tech gizmos, but we see those as the ‘icing on the cake’ – fascinating things you add onto the solid foundation of a well-thought-out climate-responsive design.” 

For more information, go to BarleyPfeiffer.com

What is Barley|Pfeiffer Architecture's mission?  To design high-performance buildings that are less expensive to operate and maintain, healthier to be in while still being comfortable and beautiful.

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