Austin residential design firm LaRue Architects proudly celebrates its 34th anniversary in 2023. These days, few things in Austin can claim a 34-year longevity, but this award-winning firm has endured, creating each new home as a unique and tailored piece of architecture that is specific to its owner and its site.
Principal Jim LaRue and his team have perfected a Hill Country Contemporary vernacular that draws on regional building methods and materials and the unique environment – topography, wind, trees, and of course, sun – for its modernist-inspired approach to Central Texas living. Whether it’s a Westlake lakefront property, a tight site in Clarksville or a suburban context, LaRue’s work all around Austin captures what people love most about living here, from long views and big skies, to breezes through the treetops, glimpses of rolling hills, and frames of a vibrant cityscape.
LaRue and his close-knit team cultivate a family atmosphere in the office that translates to their client relationships, many of which have been ongoing for decades. Staying deliberately small lets the team cater to clients’ needs with personal attention and hands-on problem solving. All along the way, these client relationships have been the core of the firm’s success. Often starting with an on-site meeting with lawn chairs and a cold beverage to experience the site at different times of the day, followed by lines on a sheet of trace paper and continuing all the way through to envisioning a child’s future wedding in the backyard, the relationship grows and solidifies over the course of years. The tried-and-tested team also includes top-notch builders and consultants who understand how to bring the firm’s work into realization. And, using 3-D computer modeling the architects allow clients to virtually get inside each room to understand the spaces before a single brick is laid, fully engaging them in the creation of their new home.
Over the past three decades, LaRue Architects’ homes have received dozens of awards and have been included on numerous homes tours, including the 2021 AIA Austin Homes tour last October. With more than 400 private residences under its belt, the firm completes a limited number of projects each year in order to enjoy the close contact with clients and has expanded its reach to include work in Dallas and Houston, as well as far flung places like Tennessee, South Carolina, and even Massachusetts.
Always pushing for innovation while striving for timeless design not beholden to gimmicks or trends, LaRue and his team continue to build the firm’s legacy of creating singular settings for an elegant and easy – uniquely Austin – way of life.