Hillside House

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Photo Credit: Fredrik Brauer

Hillside House

Hillside House is located on a previously developed high rolling piedmont site overlooking a golf course and within the stringently controlled buffers of the Chattahoochee River. A compact two-story footprint allows the six-bedroom house to stay within jurisdictional restrictions to land disturbance. The aesthetics of the house follow a straightforward refined minimalism with all features fulfilling either functional requirements or goals for energy conservation.

The house and grounds are designed to preserve and wrap around a large silver maple planted in the 1960’s by one of the owner’s mother. Designed for a growing family with strong extended family ties the house is open and social.

Environmental concerns were paramount for the family and the house fits tightly into its microclimate, sitting lightly on the land, terracing downhill toward the golf course, saving the majority of existing trees and minimizing grading.

Glazing faces primarily south toward views of the golf course and piedmont hills beyond. Overhangs and eaves shelter windows in the summer while allowing winter sun to penetrate and assist in heating the core spaces. Ground source geothermal heat pumps provide heating, cooling, lap pool conditioning and hot water. Cross ventilation is carefully designed for each space allowing suspension of heating and cooling during the wonderful extended mild climate of Atlanta’s spring and fall.

Other passive and active techniques are employed including:
• high albedo roofing
• zero VOC foam insulation throughout
• energy recovery ventilators
• daylighting
• low-to-zero volatile organic compounds [VOC] in materials and coatings
• primarily high efficiency LED lighting
• salvaged heart pine flooring and finishes
• salvaged heart pine custom wood furniture
• high durability/low maintenance products such as thermally modified wood and cement fiber siding
• high efficiency plumbing fixtures
• well water for landscape use rather than potable
• provisions for a future roof-mounted photovoltaic array.

The organizing principles of Hillside’s interior spatial sequences and, consequently, exterior formal architectural language, derive from intersecting view corridors arranged around the silver maple. Hillside’s circulation corridors, in traverse, are, thus, space-time events regularly intersected by views to the exterior. When inside, whether in circulation or in stationary view, the effect is a visual dissolution of the solidity of Hillside’s enclosure, incorporation of the exterior into each interior space and extension of the interior into the landscape.

Design Challenge

Environmental and sustainable concerns were paramount for the family and the house fits tightly into its microclimate, sitting lightly on the land, terracing downhill toward the golf course, saving the majority of existing trees and minimizing grading. Glazing faces primarily south toward views of the golf course and piedmont hills beyond. Overhangs and eaves shelter windows in the summer while allowing winter sun to penetrate and assist in heating the core spaces. Ground source geothermal heat pumps provide heating, cooling, lap pool conditioning and hot water. Cross ventilation is carefully designed for each space allowing suspension of heating and cooling during the wonderful extended mild climate of Atlanta’s spring and fall. Other passive and active techniques are employed including: • high albedo roofing • zero VOC foam insulation throughout • energy recovery ventilators • daylighting • low-to-zero volatile organic compounds [VOC] in materials and coatings • primarily high efficiency LED lighting • salvaged heart pine flooring and finishes • salvaged heart pine custom wood furniture • high durability/low maintenance products such as thermally modified wood and cement fiber siding • high efficiency plumbing fixtures • well water for landscape use rather than potable • provisions for a future roof-mounted photovoltaic array.

Physical Context

Hillside House is located on a previously developed high rolling piedmont site overlooking a golf course and within the stringently controlled buffers of the Chattahoochee River. A compact two-story footprint allows the six-bedroom house to stay within jurisdictional restrictions to land disturbance. The aesthetics of the house follow a straightforward refined minimalism with all features fulfilling either functional requirements or goals for energy conservation. The house and grounds are designed to preserve and wrap around a large silver maple planted in the 1960’s by one of the owner’s mother. Designed for a growing family with strong extended family ties the house is open and social. Environmental concerns were paramount for the family and the house fits tightly into its microclimate, sitting lightly on the land, terracing downhill toward the golf course, saving the majority of existing trees and minimizing grading.

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