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Edifice Tex: The Familiar and Unusual Work of Mell Lawrence

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Photo: The Gardens, Mell Lawrence's architecture Even if you've never heard the name Mell Lawrence, you are bound to know his work. From the West Lynn Cafe to the barn-like design of The Gardens on 35th Street, Lawrence is quietly gathering a national reputation.

"I like to imbue a form with something familiar, but also something that's unique," Lawrence said. "When you are expecting one thing and it's a little bit different -- but in an appealing way -- it's just what I've enjoyed in watching the world."

Photo: Architect Mell LawrenceLawrence's parents had a huge effect on his work -- his father a dogmatic architect who built large projects always followed strict rules while his mother was an artist who had a more chaotic style. He said it was watching them collaborate to create beauty in his family home that influenced his own style.

The Austin architect uses galvanized steel, concrete and corrugated metal to catch light in different and unusual ways. Honored by the American Institute of Architects, Lawrence is helping to define Austin style.

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Produced by Tom Spencer.

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