Historical Review Committee Process

Bryker Woods is part of the Old West Austin National Register District created by the United States Department of Interior.  Our designation as a National Registered District makes for a unique building and remodeling process. 

The City of Austin has specific criteria regarding permits for new construction and remodeling projects in a National Register District.  Those can be found in the Land Development Code.  Most typically, any modification to a residential structure in the District (or to any home over fifty years old) will be reviewed by the City’s Historical Preservation Office (HPO) before any demolition or building permit can be issued.

Unless granted administrative exemption, the Historical Preservation Office will send each and every remodel and new construction project for review by the City’s Historical Landmark Commission (HLC).  Our neighborhood association is notified by this committee of their meetings and our comments are requested as part of those hearings.

In order to be an efficient and participatory part of this City process, the Bryker Woods Neighborhood Association asks remodel and new construction applicants to submit the same documents required for the City of Austin Historical Review to BWNA at the same time you submit your plans to the city for HLC review. 

The City and BWNA requirements are:

1. One set of dimensioned building plans, including elevations and site plan/layout (or plot plan), showing all proposed exterior and site changes (additions, alterations, new construction, demolition, outbuildings, etc.).

a. All plans should be dimensioned, with the scale indicated on each submitted plan sheet.

b. Elevation sheets must specify all building materials and finishes (i.e., composition roof, wood siding, wood sash windows, paint-grip metal siding, etc.).

c. Original dimensioned plans should be no larger than 24″ x 36″ and should be of a good, reproducible quality.

2. Color photographs of JPEGs of structure and site (include overall views and close-ups of all affected areas being modified).

3. Color designations if available  when repainting or new finishes are proposed.

4. A request to demolish/relocate part or all of a structure must be accompanied by plans for new construction, if new construction is proposed. These plans shall comply with item #1 above. In addition, requests for demolition/relocation should include background information about the structure, including condition information and date of construction, to assist the Historic Landmark Commission in determining whether the structure is historically significant.

Please note considerations and review criteria of the BWNA Historical Review Committee:

Each and every home in Bryker Woods has unique and admirable qualities and the same is true for each remodel or new construction case in our National Register District  (NRD).  The text of the 2003 National Register of Historic Places application for the Old West Austin Historic District (OWAHD)  is the backbone of the efforts and design aspirations / expectations of this committee.  The goals of the BWNA Historic Review Committee are quite different than the City’s building permit requirements by design.

Neighborliness, context and precedent are important to BWNA and these values are emphasized along with goals outlined in the Central West Austin plan adopted by the City.

We look at character.  Most homes in Bryker Woods are architecturally classified by scholars to be of cottage design with “asymmetrical Colonial Revival” as the dominant named style.  An almost equal number of houses of “unassignable style” also remain.

The homes of Old West Austin and Bryker Woods are historically significant for their contribution to the fabric of the neighborhood as a whole more than for their stylistic or architectural distinction

Yet there are many distinct features we often look for:

  • Similarly sized homes placed on their lots in a similar fashion (comparative scale)
  • Similar shape, size, method of construction, detail
  • Front porches of Bryker Woods and Walkable streets
  • Front door details
  • Cars in back and adequate off-street parking
  • Roofs that are pyramidal (hipped) or gabled (long central ridge)
  • Dormers and rafters
  • Wood construction with brick or wood drop-siding exterior walls
  • Windows are mostly wood double hung with Neo-Colonial division
  • Most windows are set symmetrically in the center of walls on front facades
  • Looser organization along the sides
  • Pier and beam giving them a slight elevation from the street
  • A tradition of adding detail and accentuation around the front doorway
  • Windows and cornices are well trimmed
  • Little excessive or unique ornamentation on other parts of the house

Drawings submitted for BWNA Board review should be emailled to Bill Woods.  Additionally, the BWNA Historic Review Committee is willing to review any preliminary drawing or design idea at any time during the design process.  Members of the Committee will review your plans and, if necessary, schedule either a Zoom or in-person meeting to discuss them.  It is helpful to submit plans while in the design/consultation stage.