A young family commissioned a rural residential compound and artist retreat on a steeply sloping 10-acre property in West Austin. Inspired by the shapes and curled edges of falling oak leaves, Bercy Chen Studio incorporated this imagery as a design motif for a series of sheltering pavilion roofs.

The Falling Leaves property is an untouched wilderness corridor of cedars, oaks, mule deer, and the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Positioned at the edge of limestone cliffs above a bend in the stream, the house nestles into the landscape.

Three glass pavilions step down the plateau with a bold slice in the hillside forming the building pad. Sloping roofs provide views of the creek below. A meandering drive traces the topography to preserve most of the site as a dedicated natural habitat. The home unfolds beneath the carport, with each pavilion having its own character and orientation.

The living wing extends into the tree canopy, while the bedroom wing contrasts an opaque circulation spine with expansive glass walls. The pool house, perched on the cliff, features a lap pool above cascading rapids.

Finally, at the heart of the design, an outdoor courtyard and fire pit encircle an existing limestone boulder, serving as a gathering place for the family. Here, the family can experience the four elements of nature that bind the home together—earth, wind, water, and fire.