THE HILLSIDE ROCK is an architect led design-build single family house located on Mount Sequoyah in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Like a mineral, the architecture of the Hillside Rock emerges from interactions with its environment, without attempting to recede into nature.
This single family house is located on a dramatically sloping three-quarter acre site. The clients desired a home that would take advantage of the unique qualities of wooded enclosure and mountainous expanse that the site offered.
On approach, the house appears as an abstract outcropping; a counterpoint to the lush surroundings. The crystalline form is shaped in response to the desire to provide distinct views and experiences from each main living space. Three separate terraces are cut into the otherwise solid volume, each with a different perspective of the surrounding environment. The first terrace, off of the living area, looks through the wooded southern edge of the site, over the historic Mt Sequoyah neighborhood. A terrace off the master bedroom is trained on a southern panoramic view of the Boston Mountains. Adjacent to the kitchen and dining space, a third terrace is nestled within the dense woods, creating a private enclave.
Use of simple corrugated metal on all sides emphasizes the house as a solid mass embedded in the site; like the large sandstone boulders that can be found throughout the property. The white envelope becomes a canvas that catches shadows from the surrounding vegetation, revealing in its surface the complexity of forms that abound on the site, while also subtly registering the changing character of light throughout the day. Instead of scattering small windows indifferently on all sides, the façade’s punctures are choreographed to create more singular connections to the land at different scales. While the overall form and character of the house itself is a projection outwards, a reaching towards the vast expanse of mountains, the entry façade is conceived of as a mask to the private life beyond. As you ascend the front steps it becomes apparent that the house has presented a false front, a peeled layer whose separation from its main body affords a last glimpse of the sky before entering.
The interior’s split-level organization is tuned to the hillside slope, animating an ever changing section of cascading and nested spaces. A central wooden stair stitches together a spatial section that transitions from a concrete base into white carved volumes whose scale mimics their immediate exterior surroundings, capturing the alternating exposure and enclosure found on the original untouched site. This becomes apparent as you move back and forth between the living space, with its double height ceiling and views through the top of the surrounding tree canopies, and the kitchen, which compresses the interior space as a connection to the low lying woods that surround it. The interior is predominately white, so as not to compete with the beautiful cacophony of exterior colors as they change throughout the seasons.
As the sun goes down the house’s figure inverts, the terraces transform into illuminated figures floating in the hills, and the white exterior falls into darkness.
Instead of trying to blend into to its environment, the house is a counterpoint which accentuates the surrounding lush landscape. Each large window bay looks out to different characteristics of the land; the neighborhood, the mountains, and the woods.
Even though the house is a visual counterpoint to its surroundings, it nestles down into the wooded area and looks out upon the mountains in the distance.
This side of the house nestles into its wooded site. As is shown in the sections, the larger volumes in the house reach out to deeper views, while the compressed volumes are adjacent to the low canopied wooded areas of the site.
South and East Facades
As the sun goes down the figure of the house inverts and the porches, once cast in shadow, become the primary features of the house.
Oculus / Entry
As one enters the house they find themselves on a porch created by the delamination of the front façade. This separation creates an oculus to the sky and an acute view to the second level porch.
The interior’s split-level organization is tuned to the hillside slope, animating an ever changing section of cascading and nested spaces. A central wooden stair stitches together a intricate spatial section.
Entry / Living / Office
The porch is pushed in to the solid volume as the lowered ceiling above it pushes into the living room space. This creates room for an artist’s loft above.
Looking back into the densely wooded site.
The walls of the house are purposefully kept as a blank slate so that the art work and the environment can become the color and texture that permeates the home.
The Upper Bedroom looks out over the Boston Mountains. The corner window crops out the neighboring house, grabs the adjacent trees, and affords a big view to the valley and mountains beyond.
The lower bedrooms are partially buried in the hillside. The concrete retaining wall marks the datum of the land.