Austin History Center

Bordie Earth Sheltered Home Architectural Drawings and Papers

An Inventory of the Collection



Collection Summary

Creator: Bordie, John
Title: Bordie Earth Sheltered Home Architectural Drawings and Papers
Dates: 1975-1985
Abstract: In 1975 John and Camilla Bordie commissioned the architectural firm Coffee & Crier to design an earth-sheltered home in northern Travis County, Texas. The collection contains the schematic design and working drawings, specifications (attached to the drawings), a contract and articles and publications about underground homes (earth sheltered design) that feature the Bordie home dating from 1975 through 1985.
Accession number: AR.2017.014
Quantity: .2 linear feet (1 box) and .25 flat file (44 drawings)
Location: Architectural Archives stacks and flat files
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Sketch

John and Camilla Bordie commissioned the architectural firm Coffee and Crier in 1975 to design an earth-sheltered home for their family in northern Travis County, Texas. John, a University of Texas linguistics professor, and Camilla, a parliamentarian of the Texas Senate, wanted an energy efficient home for themselves and their two children on a site that seemed to lend itself to earth-shelter design. The inspiration for the house came from three different sources: a house with a central atrium they had lived in while overseas; the earth covered lodges of the Mandan in South Dakota which John had excavated on a Smithsonian archeological dig; and a tornado which ripped out the center of a long structure of the property shortly before beginning construction. The house was on a slight slope so the footings had to be inset into the slope about one foot on the south side and three feet on the north side. When a tornado ripped out the center of the long barn, the architect and the Bordies agreed to drop the footings an additional six feet, later slightly extended by two more feet. The house structure and design were such that the building could have been surface built or mostly subterranean with only minor service modifications either way. The Bordies found that the house was quite comfortable. It served as a proving ground for the Texas insurance commission which established risk possibilities for house insurance purposes, and was carefully monitored by the Electricity board for electrical usage. Their insurance premiums were about 50% of those for similar square footage houses above ground; the electricity usage was about 35% that of standard houses; only the property tax stayed on par with that of similar sized houses. The Bordies moved when the entire area changed to commercial and the Wells Branch Parkway was built to the east and traffic became difficult.


Scope and Contents

The collection contains the 1975 Coffee & Crier schematic design and working drawings, specifications (attached to the drawings) and the contract for the Bordie home. Also included are several newspaper and magazine articles and publications about underground homes (earth sheltered design) that feature the Bordie home dating from 1975 through 1985.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

Open to all users

Use Restrictions

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Bordie, John.
Bordie, Camilla.
Subjects (Organizations)
Coffee & Crier, Architects (Firm).
Subjects
Architectural firms--Texas--Austin.
Earth sheltered houses--Design and construction.
Buildings--Designs and plans.
Architecture--Texas--Travis County
Places
Travis County--Buildings, structures, etc.
Document Types
Clippings.
Architectural drawings.

Related Material

  • General Collection - A 720.976431 CO Coffee & Crier, Coffee and Crier: Architects, Planners. 1980.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Bordie Earth Sheltered Home Architectural Drawings and Papers (AR.2017.014). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/2016/062

Donation Date: 2017

Processing Information

Architectural drawings cataloged by Toni Thomasson in 2017. Records arranged and finding aid encoded in 2017 by Molly Hults.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Bordie Earth Sheltered Home Architectural Drawings and Papers, 1975-1985

Box Folder
1 1 Contract and drawing, 1975-1976
2 Magazine and newspaper articles about the house, 1975-1985
3 Publications about earth sheltered design, 1982
ProjectNo FlatFile
CC-1975001 FF-004/MISC Bordie residence specifications and schematic design and working drawings, 1975