We Are What We Create: Acre Architects

We Are What We Create: Acre Architects


Architecture can convey stories. In the end architecture is something that rethinks the way we see ourselves and the way we live our lives. At their philosophical core, The Acre believes – WE ARE WHAT WE CREATE – and the beginnings of The Cedars Ranch is a testament to the values of a team that espouses this way of living.

Building practice in a Canadian province with only 11 Architects under the age of 40, is a testament to the fact that the Acre has never been concerned with following the conventional order of things. The Acre is most comfortable operating on the fringe, and see this as a fertile testing ground to tackle big questions and pursue projects within a global context. Acre looks to take on projects with the ambition of enhancing a sense of place, going beyond pseudo-traditional recreated environments and explore new ways to guide clients through more meaningful development; a process they call ‘Storied Architecture’.

Monica originally met Marilyn in her capacity as Monica’s executive coach, a friendship that continued as they realized that they shared a tendency towards dreaming big. When Bill and Marilyn approached Monica and Stephen with their Texas dream, the Acre team set off on their unique process of Storied Architecture. First, they took a dive into the history, culture, art and building practices to understand as best they could the complex fabric and beautiful vernacular of Texas hill country; developing a narrative that would ultimately translate a dream into an architectural vision. It was also crucial to Bill, Marilyn and the Acre that this project be deeply entrenched in an ethos of sustainability – to go beyond cosmetic ‘green’ strategies and create something of far greater substance; to approach every move with a sensitivity and respect for the land and the environment.

Monica and Stephen, The Acre   

Acre set out on a vision for The Cedars Ranch that comprised of the Event Barn [Great Hall], Reception Pavilion, ‘Shed Shack’ [Event Bar], cabins and an owners residence that organized these buildings into a master plan they referred to as a ‘central spine’; an element that spanned in one dramatic and cohesive gesture across the entirety of the property [something the local donkeys had already figured out!]. The singular conceptual gesture of the spine organized all of The Cedars Ranch amenities into an extremely minimal footprint that prioritized the preservation of trees. It also elegantly solved the issue of way-finding on such a vast swath of land. [This master plan will be carried out in phases.] 

The Acre Team at The Cedars Ranch  

Oriented along summer’s predominant wind path, the buildings take advantage of cross ventilation through open-air wood slat façades and modern interpretations of the traditional ‘Dog-Trot’ vernacular. Unique roof lines were generated to maximize the capture of rain water, while simultaneously giving these forms their unique character.

Then, it’s about collaboration, and trusting your ‘gut’. Considering that Saint John is located some 2,500 miles north of Wimberley, Acre knew that an equally passionate local Architect would be essential to ensuring that the project maintained the clarity of the original vision. This responsibility fell onto Texas architect Jamie Crawley of HA Architecture. From our initial meetings in Austin, Acre was confident that Jamie shared the same commitment towards executing this architectural dream – he had to be the one.

The Cedars Ranch is a culmination of these collaborative relationships, along with Bill and Marilyn’s faith in the initial Storied Architecture process that allowed a firm from Canada to help make this Texas dream a reality, and to lay the foundation for creating new relationships for future projects in Texas. 

Stephen and Kale meeting with Marilyn and Bill

The Cedars Ranch is a testament to the potential of believing we can live better, and a tendency to dream big. After all, – WE ARE WHAT WE CREATE.

Stephen Kopp, Monica Adair and Kale Harper - The Acre

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