Location: Hillsborough, CA
Program: Modern custom home built into hillside in upscale Bay Area community
Area: 3915sf + 440sf garage
Images: Andre Bernard, Antoine Trichereau
General Contractor: PB Development
Structural Engineer: Double D Engineering
Civil Engineer: DeBolt Civil Engineering

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Hillside House

This family home is embedded in a steep, secluded, north facing hillside with views towards the San Francisco Bay. Its elongated plan follows the site’s contours and its broad roof tucks under strict town height limits. While the major views are towards the north, the house also looks south into a courtyard that passively collects the sunlight through shaded glass and provides generous cross ventilation and transparency.

The architecture is sculptural, but every element works overtime to enhance the home’s livability and efficiency. A three-story staircase dramatically unites the house, appearing as a powerful sculptural element in the courtyard. Expansive decks on the north extend the interior space towards the panoramic Bay view. An imposing two-story “tower” on the southeast corner of the house contains an office and the master bath, but also frames the entrance while shielding private areas from a neighboring house towards the south.

The design exceeds California’s energy code “Title 24” standards by 26% and achieves 139 points on the Green Point checklist submitted with the permit. Broad overhangs and landscaping control shading on the south faƧade while the house’s narrow cross section and openings on north and south sides of living spaces optimize cross ventilation. A three story stair tower A Triangle Tube Prestige 95% high-efficiency boiler coupled with insulated storage tank provides hot water for both radiant heating and domestic use. The house is pre-plumbed for future hot water solar collection panels and conduits pre-installed for a planned photo-voltaic system on roof.

Exterior doors and windows have thermally broken frames and low-E, grey tinted glass to control heat loss and gain. All applicable appliances are Energy Star rated. Exterior materials are light colored, durable and require no maintenance, and the driveway paving is concrete bricks set in sand to reduce rainwater run-off from impervious surfaces. The house is topped with a standing seam metal roof that is both durable and recyclable.