The location is tucked away in a protected wooded area covered by trees with a stream nearby. It is an odd-shaped lot with a hillside and boulders, surrounded by nature. It was a huge challenge for architect Doug Pierson and designer Youn Choi, but the end result is absolutely stunning.
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Carrboro Hillside House is hidden in the terrain like a dormant black snake, and that’s how it got its name. The submerged design helps regulate the interior temperature of the home, just as triple glazing throughout prevents energy loss through the windows. There is also a tankless water heater, a clear roof, Energy Star appliances and low-running sinks and toilets.
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The house consists of three sections that create a z-shape and interestingly enough all wrapped in black corrugated cardboard. The foundation and retaining walls are made of polished concrete. Natural light enters the room through glazed windows. The internal temperature is regulated with thermal mass and radiant floors.
All the pine trees that were felled to build this home went to a local lumber company and then returned as the pine tree seen throughout the interior of the house. The black walls were made of recyclable lining material for cast concrete molds. Perforated metal or glass railings were used for stairs and balconies. All floors in the living room are polished concrete. The upper floors are made of polished pine just like the walls.
Found in Carrboro, North Carolina, Hillside House’s innovative design and eco-friendly materials used to create it (with extra care and attention to energy efficiency) make this a great example of how even a difficult and uncomfortable mass can be the inspiration for a real dream house. Inspiration from the external environment is often the best way to honor nature.
+ Doug Pierson and Youn Choi
Photos via Blue Plate PR