MERGE Architects designed this recently completed “jewel box” located in the Spring Branch Memorial area. The challenge of this lot was to minimize eastern and western sun exposure while opening the house up to the very even and excellent ambient light from the north and the south. Our solution was to devise a series of overlapping volumes by utilizing the forms of open ended boxes to block the east and west sun while opening up to the greatest extent possible, the northern and southern sides. These open ended boxes overlap in some instances while floating apart at other times. The play of volume and material wrapping create dynamic spaces that expand both horizontally and vertically as well as enhance the perception of depth from both outside and within the house. In utilizing natural or earth-based materials such as granite, stucco, Ipe, other natural woods, and slate; we are able to appeal to the sense of realness. We believe that it’s important that materials keep us in touch with reality. We advocate that architecture is a sensory experience and that the materials are meant to be touched. In doing so, the textures and the perception of temperature convey truth in materiality.