A house designed by an Austin midcentury favorite is destined for demolition. The city Historic Landmark Commission voted unanimously in favor of the issuance of a demo permit for the Zilker home earlier this month.
The much-stanned A.D. Stenger, an Austin architect and developer active for several decades of the mid-20th century, designed the one-story, single-family home. Stenger designed and built more than 100 homes in Austin—often participating hands-on in the construction process—most in South Austin and West Lake Hills.
Stenger's distinctive, modernist sensibilities and pragmatic approach to home-building garnered him a lasting reputation. He's lauded and showcased by local preservationists as well as design-savvy real estate professionals and buyers,.and the homes he designed — most in already high-priced neighborhoods — usually fetch high sales prices.
The house at 1810 Dexter Street, for which the owner has applied for a demolition permit, apparently followed a different trajectory. Historic commission staff said Stenger and the Austin Home Builders Association built the house in 1953, and it once served as a sort of a model for the kind of modern design and construction that could be achieved in the city.
While a Stenger association is significant to Austin preservationists, the commission chose not to move forward with landmarking the home — its usual strategy for preserving structures that owners seek to demolish. Commissioners' reasons for the decision include the unoccupied home's distressed condition and significant changes made to the building in the 1990s.
The property is owned by a limited partnership called JBHR Project 14, which has a listed address at a single-family house on 4705 Menchaca Road, according to county tax records. The records show a deed transfer of the Dexter Street property to the partnership in March 2022. The county's 2022 appraised market value of the property was $1,317,317. Its net appraised value was $841,555. The property currently has a homestead exemption,
Owners will preserve photos and a history of the home for submission to the Austin History Center.