Hill House

Similar to English gardens of the past, a golf course strives to create an idealized landscape that appears natural while in reality being highly structured. Lakes are built, and groves of trees are planted in an attempt to create a manufactured beauty. Both are designed as experiential encounters striving to bring natural beauty into every day life.

Along with the garden and the golf course came the manor house and clubhouse. A stark juxtaposition to the structured-natural landscape, it stood as a monument to man’s domination of the natural world while still utilizing building materials sourced from the land. Wood, brick, stucco, and stone are predominant materials.

Located on the outskirts of London, the use of modern materials is felt as well. While traditional construction may still be found in the city, modernist structures make themselves felt with masses of glass, concrete, aluminum and steel.

The Hill House attempts to define beauty by synthesizing these elements and ideas into a single whole; The overall form is one that mimics the rolling green hills of the English garden and surrounding golf course, bringing the hills and terraces of the surroundings onto and into the living space, in turn allowing the living space to blend out beyond the walls of the structure itself.

The house allows for the blurring of indoor and outdoor spaces by utilizing two large glass walls that allow for visual transparency through the structure. The transparency welcomes the natural into the indoors as well as allowing the house to dematerialize into its surroundings. The walls themselves become porous by allowing many of the panels to open, further blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.

As the house sits between the urban metropolis of London and the countryside, it blends the materials of the two into a single form. The two main arches and beams are made of wood and recalls the half timber of traditional construction. Instead of being infilled with brick or similar, here it is filled with glass panels evoking the modernist structures of nearby London. The large central chimney anchors the building, grounding it in a juxtaposition to the soaring wood beams. Both the wood and bricks transition from the interior to the exterior at the roof as well as the front and rear of the building, further blending the indoor with the outdoor space.

All areas of the house are also accessible by those with lesser mobility. The majority of the building is on a single level but, like the surroundings, central programmatic elements terraced slightly above or below the main floor level, connected via ramps. An accessible balcony above the private portion of the house allows for a secluded overlook from which to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Project Credits:
Principal in Charge: Paulis Austrins
Principal: Sophia Chang