AIA Dallas Gives Russell Buchanan’s Unique Mockingbird House Honor Award

Mockingbird June 4

We’ve reported on this incredible box-like residence on Mockingbird in Highland Park, a home that caused some friction with neighbors thanks to its unique design and use of materials. With a building envelope you’d most often find covering a warehouse and some really innovative use of natural materials, Russell Buchanan’s “Mockingbird House” caught the eyes of AIA Dallas, which gave the home an Honor Award.


The house is a two-story, 4,140-square-foot home that is basically a rectangular box served by a vestibule that, when lit up at night, glows amber thanks to the onyx slab construction. The owners, whose trade is in wholesale stone, used several different types of granite, quartz, and marble in the home’s construction.

Buchanan, who likened the home to a giant refrigerator box, says the insulated panels provide a construction efficiency that is unmatched, and have the added benefit of providing sound-dampening properties that keep the home quiet despite the busy street just outside.

When I toured this home during a Dallas Architecture Forum event, what really struck me was the versatility that this type of construction could lend. And considering that the home was pretty much finished in a year, well, that’s incredibly fast for a well-insulated home.

Congratulations to Buchanan for his forward-thinking design!


43 Vanguard Front

I love Urban Reserve for many reasons, most of which coincide with my general adoration for modern architecture. Another reason to love Urban Reserve, a Matthews | Nichols development East of 75 and North of Royal Lane, is the focus on sustainability.

Of course, some people have bought lots in this fantastic subdivision to build groundbreaking dream homes with forward-thinking designs that you’d most often see in the pages of Architectural Digest, or any of the seemingly endless supply of Pinterest pages and Houzz idea books that celebrate modern architecture. But if you’re not the type of person who would wait four or five years between design and move-in, then perhaps 43 Vanguard Way is a better idea. You can quell your love for modern design and sustainability with this incredible LEED platinum home.

43 Vanguard Living

With 1,200 square feet and two bedrooms and two baths, this home is great for someone who wants to downsize but not sacrifice on design. In fact, that’s exactly the purpose behind the design by DSGN Associates, which was featured on the 2012 AIA Dallas Tour of Homes.

DSGN Associates was tasked with designing a budget-savvy but personalized “home base” for a pair of empty nesters. Vanguard Way is the result, a compact, two-bedroom home achieving high livability and high sustainability at an affordable cost. A collaborative effort between DSGN Associates, the client and the developer, this home takes advantage of a unique site to create an open, efficient plan with controlled views to a sunny garden. A generous roof deck provides a second outdoor living space and dynamic views to the adjacent DART line.

Generous windows on the south facade, balanced by small skylights, allow ample natural light during the winter months to all major rooms while a generous roof overhang shields the interior from harsh summer sun. Other sustainability features include advanced wood framing, Echoshel cedar shingle panels installed as a rain screen, photovoltaic solar array, geothermal heat pump HVAC, and energy recovery ventilation.

We love the interior features of this home, which includes polished concrete floors, sliding wall-hung doors, and beautiful windows from which you can admire your treehouse-type view.

43 Vanguard Dining

This gorgeous home is marketed by Briggs-Freeman Sotheby’s agent Christy Berry for $415,000. For an award-winning structure such as this, it sounds like a fabulous bargain. What do you think?

43 Vanguard Kitchen 43 Vanguard Bedroom 43 Vanguard Bath 43 Vanguard Porch 43 Vanguard Porch 2 43 Vanguard Side