Mod Cott on the Lake by Mell Lawrence Architects

Who needs a lake when you’ve got Mod Cott to enjoy?

Buchanan Lake is apparently 132 feet deep.  At least in theory.  Depending on the outflow over Buchanan Dam the lake might bulge at the shoreline or dramatically shrink to reveal enormous beaches that loop and swirl like a Rorschach blot. It almost doesn’t seem like a lake when the wake of motorboats is replaced by well-worn tracks of ATVs.

NASA’s Earth Observatory notes that due to severe drought in 2011 “the lake edge is currently as much as a mile from the stone walls that normally protect lakefront homes” and that Buchanan and similarly-affected nearby Lake Travis had shrunk to 37% of their combined capacity.  NASA’s Earth Observatory: Ghost Shorelines of Buchanan Lake illustrates this with matching images of both extremes.  This is also what we see in the images served-up by Bing and even more dramatically by Google in the galleries below.  Unfortunately, reports through 2013 are that extremely low water levels persist.

None of this, however, directly impacts the Mod Cott on the Lake, because it isn’t actually on the lake. It looks over the lake and you can see what’s left of the lake from this award-winning guest house, but you can’t get to the lake, which is far below the heights of White Bluff. And while some lake dwellings might depend on the lake for water, Mod Cott uses a rainwater collection system to help lever it off the grid, along with solar panels.

In the end, being at Mod Cott may be more fun than being at what’s left of the lake.


Mod Cott on the Lake by Mell Lawrence Architects
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Mod Cott on the Lake by Mell Lawrence Architects 30.847054, -98.381800 Mod Cott on the Lake by Mell Lawrence Architects


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Property Location

Lake Buchanan, Texas, USA


Mod Cott on the Lake by Mell Lawrence Architects

From the architect:

A simple metal volume perched on a bluff offers targeted views of the lake below. The guesthouse and weekend retreat complements a nearby stone residence and although it is “on the grid,” its 14 solar panels collect enough energy to power its intermittent use. Rainwater is collected from the roof for household use and the xeriscaping requires no irrigation. The house is oriented to the south, its galvanized metal exterior punctuated by windows that frame vignettes to the east and west. A partition wall separates the elongated rectangular interior and supports the lofts structure, which appears to float above the glazed joist spaces. Fir decking creates both ceiling and loft floor, and is repeated in the supersized wainscoting and stair screen wall. Thirteen-foot doors further expand the modest volume, opening to the south to capture the view, prevailing breezes, and sounds of nature.


Architects: Mell Lawrence Architects
Location: Lake Buchanan, Texas, USA
Project Team: Mell Lawrence FAIA, Scott Smith, François Levy, Krista Whitson, & Mark Winford
Structural Design: Smith Structural Engineers
Contractor: Classic Constructors
Landscape: Brenda Barger Landscape Design
Area: 1400.0 ft2
Year: 2008
Photographs: © Mell Lawrence Architects, Jacob Termansen