Sunday, May 29, 2011

Architectural (partly) Field Trip

Today's visit was to the Dutchman Family Winery southwest of Austin.  Good wine - Italian varietals, mostly estate grown - wonderful Italian food at the next door Trattoria Lisina - and charming Tuscan buildings.

It's interesting to see how naturally the presently fashionable Tuscan-Italian style of architecture fits the dry, rocky terrain of the Texas Hill Country.  Thick masonry walls (up to 3' in places) are built of local limestone and are reminiscent of buildings by German settlers in Fredricksburg, except that here narrow Roman terracotta-colored brick is used for gentle arches over windows and doors.  Clay tile roofs recall Spanish or Mexican colonial architecture of San Antonio, not far south.  There is a blocky simplicity to these buildings that I admire - I wish I knew who designed them.  The gardens include native oaks older than the vineyard and herbaceous plants that suggest Italy, the south of France, or the great wine region of America, Napa Valley...  seeming perfectly at home in Texas' hot, dry climate.
photo courtesy of Dutchman Family Winery (the garden has matured since)

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