Gallery: Hilltop House Sits High on Stilts in Australian Spotted Gum Fo...

The home is contemporary by design but inspired by the local vernacular of Pittwatter cottages.

Located on an incline in the Pittwater area, the Hilltop House responds to the slope by terracing down the hillside without cutting into the ground and damaging root systems. The relatively compact, steel framed home takes advantage of the views from the upper levels and uses piers and beams for its foundation. The driveway and part of the home is cantilevered off the ground to minimize its footprint on the earth below. Large roof overhangs passively protect the home from the western sun.

The home is built from a limited palette of materials – mostly steel, regional woods, and durable cement fiber boards are used for the exterior. Wood joinery and rafters align to mirror the tall and straight flow of the trees surrounding the home. Energy-efficient LED lighting, daylighting, and natural ventilation reduce the need for mechanical and electrical systems inside the home while opening up the inside to the surrounding nature. Additionally, the project’s roof collects rainwater, which is recycled for use within the home.

+ Richard Cole Architecture



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  1. Holcim Awards December 29, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    This is a wonderful design. The architecture is beautiful and site serenely in the surrounding landscape. Furthermore the sustainable strategies are simple and effective: natural lighting and ventilation, Rainwater collection, minimizing the building’s footprint, local materials, etc. Fantastic! This would make an ideal submission to the Hoclim Awards for Sustainable Construction.

    For inspiring sustainable designs check out past winners of the Holcim Awards. The 2011 Holcim Awards are now open for submissions. Enter your ideas today!

  2. julia mck December 29, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I love this building, it looks like you are able to really experience the location even when in the home. Julia

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