The South Hills House

Eugene, Oregon


The South Hills House has a unique sunset orientation with expansive views of the valley. While the topography is inherently complex because of the steepness of the site, the architecture presents itself as a clear and simple set of volumes that nestle into the landscape. This two-storey, 5,000-square-foot, three-bedroom house is embedded into the top portion of the four-acre site. The main level is sited several feet below street level with a series of retaining walls and fences that enhance the sense of privacy from the street to the east. As the site slopes down to the west, the main level soars 15 feet above grade with panoramic views.

Saving and highlighting the oaks on the site drove the orientation of the house. The panoramic views reveal a mature and natural oak savanna. In many ways, the South Hills House shows the legacy of the Northwest Regional Style with its asymmetrical floor plans reaching into the site, its use of modern envelope systems, and its iconic low-slope, cantilevered roof, which extends fourteen feet to create a covered deck outside the dining room and kitchen.

The house is divided into two major volumes: one contains the bedrooms, bathrooms and utilities; the other, springing from 11 to 14 feet, creates an open, loft-like space and contains the open kitchen, dining room, and living room. On the lower level, a music room was purposefully designed as an open space so that live music can emanate throughout the house.

On the exterior, a metal panel system will differentiate the private-area volume from the Equitone fibre-cement rainscreen system of the social-area volume. The main roof is structural wood deck supported by painted steel beams. The structural roof deck system will be exposed on the interior to show the beautiful, clear grain of Port Orford cedar planks. In addition to the ceiling, custom oak-veneered cabinetry and white oak flooring create a strong indoor-outdoor connection and speak to the language of the site.