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Living Roof on Slope House Merges Beautifully with California Hillside

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The Kentfield Residence by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects is located in northern California. Set into a steep hillside with two volumes overlooking the panoramic views of Mount Tamalpais as well as San Francisco Bay, the top volume also opens up at the back to a sheltered pool and terrace, which are cut into the slope and protected by a retaining wall. The architects designed the retaining wall to curve inward, keeping and protecting preexisting trees while at the same time creating a beautiful contemporary and fluid line in harmony with the natural surroundings. Additionally the designers melded the home with the terrain by extending the flora onto a green rooftop, which further unites the structure to its surroundings.

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By curving the retaining wall around the preexisting trees, the hillside does not present a standard scar where a home has been built. In fact, the home merges beautifully with the hillside.

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Three distinct zones within the first volume hold the living room, then the kitchen and dining area, and finally the master suite. All of the zones within this C formation are covered with a green living roof but an additional pair of roofs over the kitchen and dining area also hold photovoltaic and solar hot water panels.

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The pool runs the length of the social zone with access through floor to ceiling siding glass panels. There is also a more private access point on the far side that leads first to a poolside changing room, and then to either the master suite or the social zone.

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Narrow – but long enough to swim laps, the pool is flanked on both sides by hardscaping. The lush grasses and shrubbery against the retaining wall give the terrace a definite park like atmosphere.

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Inside the home, a large passage way runs the length of the house with the living room on one end. With floor to ceiling glazings on both sides of the living room, as well as clerestory windows above the lower ceilinged walkway and a stunning wood wall separating it from the dining area, it almost feels like the inside is still outside.

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Just past the dining area is the kitchen. Designed to take full advantage of the majestic vistas, the kitchen features a double width island that holds the cooktop, sink and tons of prep space – allowing the chef to face outward to the views for the majority of the time.

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Just past the kitchen, tucked into a corner of windows is a small eating area. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a late night glass of wine.

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Another fantastic place to sit and enjoy the view is an alfresco area inset between the living room and the dining area. Accessed by both, the view terrace runs from the living room all the way to the far end of the kitchen. On the opposite side of the kitchen is a short hall that leads first to a poolside changing room and then to the master bedroom. The master bedroom, in turn, leads to this amazing ensuite.

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The master suite embodies a warm and cozy tree house aesthetic thanks to the horizontal wood planks that clad the walls and the tree top views beyond the windows.

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The lower volume is accessed by a flight of stairs positioned between the living room and a small bathroom just off of the foyer. This lower volume holds all the necessary equipment to run the passive and active heating and cooling systems, including the batteries for storing energy produced by the photovoltaic panels. Just beneath this volume is also a cistern for water runoff management.

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All of the living space within the home is contained within the upper volume, saving only the utility areas for the lower level. With a sheltered pool in a park-like setting on one side and those magnificent views on the other, the homeowners can enjoy a relaxing vacation style lifestyle all from within their own home.

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By incorporating specific angles and exposures for the photovoltaic panels and by making use of the natural regulating of temperature by the earth, Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects have designed a home that is not only relaxing and luxurious but also eco-friendly.

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The Kentfield Residence presents a humble and modest profile to the world in order to merge with the hillside but once you get inside… W-O-W.
Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects

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