Excerpt: Aaron Neubert Architects’ T House, which offers its residents a great blend of contemporary style and a strong connection with nature, serves as a compelling model for responsible hillside buildings. The T House adopts sustainability in all aspects of its design and operation while carefully harmonising with its surroundings. In addition to improving the aesthetics of the house, sustainable materials and components also lessen its ecological impact.
[Text as submitted by architect] Gracefully cascading down the steep terrain from the south, the home creates an inviting entry courtyard through its strategic separation from the adjacent slope, featuring descending terraced gardens that lead visitors to the glass-enclosed foyer. Upon entry, a vertical slot window unveils a striking three-story-high view perfectly aligned with Barham Boulevard to the north, forging a seamless connection between earth and sky.
Complementing this vertical window system are telescoping glass doors spanning the width of the house, capturing a panoramic horizontal view of the nearby mountains. This novel “t” spatial configuration not only shapes the home’s layout but also ensures an uninterrupted flow of awe-inspiring views throughout, extending to the pool area and distant landscape.
Visually and aurally connected, the three levels of the home are united by the vertical slot window and adjacent void, crowned by a transom window on the south-facing roof and a stairwell leading to the pool level on the north. The middle level comprises porous, semi-autonomous spaces, housing the entry, living room, kitchen, dining room, lounge, and office. On the lower level, a guest suite and a semi-enclosed entertainment area open up to the pool, terrace, and lawn, creating an ideal space for relaxation and socializing. The upper level accommodates bedrooms, laundry, and the garage, providing practical functionality for everyday living.
Externally, the house is clad in sustainably sourced charcoal-stained cedar siding and hand-pressed terracotta bricks, creating a natural and warm material palette that harmoniously blends the architecture with its environment. Over time, the materials will gracefully weather, further enhancing their integration with their natural surroundings. Inside, the design features exposed Douglas fir beams, wide-plank oak and natural limestone flooring, plaster walls, rift-sawn oak cabinetry, and dark bronze-finished windows and interior railings.
With a firm commitment to environmental consciousness, the T House harmonises thoughtfully with the surrounding landscape while embracing sustainable principles in every aspect of its construction and operation. The residence showcases a carefully curated selection of drought-tolerant plants well-suited to the region’s arid climate, effectively minimising water consumption and promoting local biodiversity. Sustainable materials and elements not only enhance the home’s aesthetics but also minimise its ecological footprint.
Through the integration of a rainwater harvesting system, the project efficiently conserves water resources by collecting and storing rainwater for irrigation and non-potable uses. These eco-conscious efforts underscore the design’s commitment to sustainable living, serving as an exemplar of how thoughtful design and responsible choices can coexist in harmony with nature.
Moreover, the T House serves as a compelling model for responsible hillside developments in Southern California, offering its inhabitants an exceptional blend of contemporary design and a profound connection with the natural world—a truly inviting retreat that reflects a genuine appreciation for the environment.