Sky Crown Terraces are two identical and adjacent houses designed and built by Bercy Chen Studio in Austin, Texas. 

The monolithic form, courtyards, and habitable flat roofs evoke the vernacular of the American Southwest interpreted by Modernism. Inspired by the sculpture of Michael Heizer, Eduardo Chillida, and Jorge Yazpik, the strategy of volumetric subtraction enhances the materiality of the basic conception of the houses as stucco boxes crowned by steel panels. The consequentiality of the vernacular together with the elegance of orthogonal abstraction clad in nakedly simple materials do nothing to distract from the peculiar delights of the understated landscape and raw climate of the Texas Hill Country.


Emphatic dichotomy

The Texas sun invites a lightness of being and a vigorous outdoor culture in Austin that finds in stark shadows sheltered respite from the intense heat. The exterior walls juxtapose the slow coolness of stucco with the searing heat associated with the thermal conductivity and production of steel. On the ground level, the exterior stucco walls return in plan around shadowy recessed apertures to reinforce spatially the gravity and thickness of their material in contrast with the continuous band of steel panels that clad the upper level. Flush with the steel, the windows of the upper level freely float to the edges of the wall planes.


Nature penetrating interior life

Four voids extending from ground to sky cleave each of the four sides of each house, bringing nature deep into the double-height entry vestibule at the heart of the house. Through double-height glass walls framed by these four canyons of nature enters light from the four cardinal directions. Each cardinal direction deploys its own palette of light, modulating in color and intensity as the sun courses across the sky.


Rooms outdoors

The shallowest of the four canyons leads to a 16’ x 22’ courtyard carved from one of the corners of the quadrilateral mass. The courtyard is sunken from the surrounding landscape in one of the houses, while its grade is elevated in the other. In both cases, a flight of stairs connects it directly to a 19’ x 31’ roof deck that occupies the entire upper half of one of the volumetric quadrants delineated by the canyons. 


Coronation of the heavens

The roof deck is defined as an outdoor room by the continuation of the steel cladding the upper half of the exterior walls as perforated screens of the same material. While floor-to-ceiling windows provide unimpeded horizontal views from the interior, the screens direct attention to the cosmic dance above. Appearing to dissolve into the sky from certain distances and vantages, their varying opacity modulates the view of the surrounding trees and hills.

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"Texas Wabi-Sabi"

The steel panels are pre-oxidized to permit controlled staining of the high-quality, pristine white stucco below them, fusing the two materials in streaks of color, as if painting a blank canvas in drips of mineral deposits as found on the cliffs of the surrounding Texas Hill Country.



space & amenities

area: 3,020 SF (per owner)
roof deck: 500 Sf
garage: 2.5 cars


19' x 31' roof deck


double-height foyer


double-height living room and sunken dining area


built-in seating and desk overlooking double-height living room



Bosch 500 Series 36" Induction Cooktop

Bosch Benchmark 24" Pull-Out Hood - 400 cfm

Bosch 500 Series 30" Single Oven - Knob Control

Bosch 800 Series 30" Speed Microwave Oven -120v

Bosch DLX 500 Series Dishwasher 44dba third rack flush handle

Bosch 800 Series 21 cu ft Counter-Depth French-Door Refrigerator - 400 cfm



Soho 68" Free-Standing Acrylic Soaking Tub with Rear Drain

Metris S Single-Hole Bathroom Faucet

Hansgrohe shower fixtures

Santa Rosa 1.28 GPF One-Piece Elongated Comfort-Height Toilet with AquaPiston Technology



remote-controlled ceiling fans

3-zone HVAC system

in-house security system





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level 4 finish walls

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sealed and waxed concrete ground floor

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white oak upper floor


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walnut veneer cabinetry

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Ann Sacks tile


Silestone countertops


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etched glass

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ceramic tile

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Lueders limestone


2708 & 2800 San Juan Drive

Austin, Texas 78733

Eanes Independent School District

20 - 30 minutes from Downtown Austin

Private schools:

  • St. Michael's Catholic Academy (14 - 16 minutes)
  • Regents School of Austin (18 - 24 minutes)
  • St. Andrew's Episcopal School (20 - 26 minutes)
  • St. Stephen's Episcopal School (20 - 26 minutes)
  • Austin Waldorf School (20 - 26 minutes)

Lake Austin access:

  • Lake Hills Community Pool boat ramp (3 minutes)
  • Loop 360 boat ramp (16 - 22 minutes)


  • Commons Ford Metropolitan Ranch Park (8 minutes)
  • Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve (12 - 18 minutes)
  • Barton Creek Greenbelt Hill of Life Access (14 - 20 minutes)
  • Red Bud Isle (16 - 22 minutes)
  • Bull Creek District Park (18 - 26 minutes)


  • Hill Country Galleria (12 - 16 minutes)
  • Barton Creek Square (14 - 20 minutes)


  • Lost Creek Country Club (18 minutes)
  • Austin Country Club (18 - 24
  • Lions Municipal Golf Course (20 - 28 minutes)




    2017 08 29

    ArchDaily, "the world's most visited site", features Sky Crown Terraces:

    Bercy Chen Studio


    Bercy Chen Studio LP is an architecture and urban planning firm with design/build capabilities based in Austin, Texas founded in 2001 by partners Thomas Bercy and Calvin Chen. Thomas is from Belgium and Calvin is from Taiwan by way of Australia; the partners’ European and Asian backgrounds form a design philosophy of unique perspectives. The work is influenced by vernacular precedents from various cultures- whether Islamic, Indian, African or pre-columbian, while maintaining respect for the particular contemporary contextual conditions. Due to this unique approach, the work has received national and international attention.

    Bercy Chen Studio has been featured in over 40 publications from over 20 countries worldwide alongside architects like Aires Mateus, Tadao Ando, Tatiana Bilbao, Will Bruder, Alberto Camp Baeza, Eric Miralles Benedetta Tagliabue, Sou Fujimoto, Steven Holl, Alberto Kalach, Kengo Kuma, Tom Kundig, Bjarke Ingels, Philip Johnson, Rick Joy, Richard Meier, Glenn Murcutt, Oscar Niemeyer, Ryue Nishizawa, John Pawson, Smiljan Radic, Mies Van der Rohe, Kazuyo Sejima, Álvaro Siza, Snøhetta, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Studio Mumbai and Frank Lloyd Wright.

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