Portola Valley, California

Situated on a steep slope in Portola Valley, CA, slipped into a pocket of oak woodlands, the Hillside House won an AIACC Merit award for its deep sensitivity to the landscape, its mix of ethereal and grounded materials, and the wide open circulation the house invites. With a structure that gently cascades down the hillside, the house extends itself towards creating a new micro-environment. A long and kinetic stairway is lined with panoramic windows to capture iconic valley views; an exterior deck seems to slip under the curtain wall, spilling out onto a grassy play area for the clients and their children, and forms a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living.

Sunlight is everywhere, filtering through the trees and producing a dappled effect that plays on the building’s inherent materiality as well as the shaded hillside location. A connection between nature and nurture, soil and sun are reinforced through the choice of warm woods, brightly-colored details, and an overall feeling of expansive glazing. The obscured forms of the surrounding trees produce a dematerialized effect for the house. On the interior, surfaces are faced with eucalyptus, and warm cut-outs in the cabinetry create small apertures in the west facade.

Press: Well-Grounded, Metropolis, 2011


Steep Sloping

Year Completed