Wednesday, March 25, 2009

San Antonio Roger Rasbach Mansion for sale (with pictures) (Post updated 12/2010)

(As of December 2010 this realtor still has the photos up and apparently it is still for sale.  With that beautiful little lake why doesn't the city buy it and make a beautiful park just where it is needed!).

Several years ago Roger Rasbach spoke at SAC and many members of our group were able to attend. In the 1950's and early 1960's his designs were frequently featured in House Beautiful, including several homes built in San Antonio. His homes at that time were classic mid-century modern with many features we would consider elements of green building today, including careful siting, passive solar, use of local materials and use of natural ventilation.

A 1961 San Antonio mansion of his design is currently for sale. This allows us to take a peek at it by way of the realtor's site.  Of course if you can talk your way into a tour of the $1,600,000 six thousand square foot, 5 bedroom 7 1/2 bath then that's another option.

Though the house near Callaghan and Vance Jackson has been renovated and changed quite a bit inside you can still see the exposed roof rafters, open floor plan, generous use of glass and local stone that marked his designs at the time.

Mr. Rasbach passed away July 30, 2003. Throughout his career he continued to develop his ideas. He became a pioneer of green building. His book "The Provident Planner" published in 1976 contrasted the improvident wasteful, inefficient and hard to maintain with the provident. He showed how to transform an improvident home into a provident one.

His newly built  Provident Homes included Thermasave SIPS for insulation and steel framing to deter termites.

December 2010 Addition.
This post is getting some hits this month perhaps due to the offer for sale of a 1965 Rasbach home in  Rollingwood Texas.

So I thought I'd add a little bit to it off the top of my head.

I'm no Rasbach expert but I did hear him speak, look at some of his House Beautiful designs and read the Provident Planner. Advertisement for the Provident Planner in Texas Monthly via Google Books.

To my knowledge, Mr. Rasbach's designs from the beginning to the early 1970's seem to have included lots of glass in a typical Mid-Century style.  His rule of thumb for a Provident Home though was that it should have l0% or less fenestration, which is a far cry from his early work.

He advocated built in furniture, which is in line with his modernist background.  He argued that built ins made for easier cleaning.  Ease of cleaning is also why he advocated wide baseboards and door casements.  He suggested that light switches be placed in the woodwork surrounding doors because such glossy painted surfaces would be easier to clean of the inevitable finger prints.

He didn't like the idea of people taking time out of their lives to paint and repaint walls.  

His advice on flooring differed from today's green architects.  While he advocated for permanence in driveways, he did not seek permanent interior flooring. (He wanted permanent concrete drives rather than temporary asphalt ones.)

Inside he suggested that a sacrificial surface be used in high traffic areas.  Vinyl or rubber floors in the kitchen and hallways which could be replaced as needed while providing an easy to clean and relatively soft surface was his suggestion.

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