A prototype for a sustainable rural community, Hill Country House became a beacon of what it could be: a self-sufficient home in a rural setting, almost independent of urban water and energy. Nestled on an expansive mountain meadow in Texas, this private residence is framed by a series of peak-like roofs inspired by the surrounding rolling hills. Affectionately called “The Temple” by its owners, an active pastoral couple, and executed on a very low budget, this modern country farmhouse is a place where people come together in a responsible, sustainable Find a place for spiritual renewal in the environment.
The exterior of the residence is framed by clean lines, a sculptural gabled roof and contrasting corrugated aluminium and warm cypress materials. While the materials reveal the client’s modest budget, they also evoke the rural setting of the residence. A tapering limestone chimney was inspired by existing sheds on the 47-acre site, which were stacked from dry local stone. Throughout the interior, white walls and ceilings are neutralized by thoughtful accents, such as the limestone fireplace in the living room and soapstone counters in the kitchen. Hickory floors are a symbol of the home’s rustic environment.
In the floor plan, a series of books are arranged along a central ridge, reminiscent of local “shotgun” huts, with the public and private spaces of the residence at opposite ends. The main hallway doubles as a gallery, differentiated by thin vertical windows, balancing the need for natural light with the need to provide space for hanging artwork. In each room, windows provide abundant natural light and framed views of the surrounding landscape.
Particular attention was paid to the creation of spaces capable of accommodating large numbers of friends and family, blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces. The bright white aluminium cladding is interrupted at various intervals by warm cypress siding that defines a series of rooms outside the house, including a palatial porch extending from the volume containing the main living spaces. A shady outdoor sculpture studio also serves as the stage for summer concerts, which are held 3-4 times a year.
The designer’s approach to materials, construction and maintenance significantly reduces not only upfront construction costs and waste, but also expected life-cycle costs and impacts. Through careful planning of construction schedules and thoughtful material selection, typical construction waste is either minimized, mitigated, or eliminated entirely. During construction, the architects and contractors developed a waste management plan to deal with unused materials and any waste generated on site.