The canon of architecture offers many significant examples of hillside houses cascading down toward a significant view. This project addresses an unusual site constraint, where the best view is over your shoulder.
Oriented on the back side of a protected ridge, the house stands discreetly away from the street and hugs tightly to the topography. Rather than cascading down the primary slope toward a view of other houses, the form reaches upward, climbing toward the tiny part of the site where it can sneak a peek at the city lights below. Meanwhile, the broad south side of the home opens up toward 90 degrees of protected mountain views.
Our design for the home was motivated by an ongoing interest in the manipulation of vernacular roof forms. Here, we bent a simple rectangular bar scheme into an elongated ‘Z’ in both plan and section in order to adhere to the slope of the site and align entry views toward mountain peaks. This simple manipulation is registered by a series of contortions within the project's gable roof, transforming its recognizable form into a distorted and faceted topography. This roof form extends down the north side of the house, shielding it from winter cold and undesirable views toward neighboring homes, while cantilevering over the south elevation to invite in winter sun and unspoiled mountain views. As one moves from the home's public street view toward its private backyard, the form’s legibility as a closed prismatic solid unfolds into an architecture of immaterial planes.