This hilltop residence called ‘Leicester House’ is located at the edge of a wooded knoll in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with expansive southern and western views. Approaching through dense woods, one arrives at a striking single story facade of corten steel in a wood frame, designed by studio SPG Architects. A hint of the views is provided through the glass door, but it is not until entry that the full impact of the hilltop views can be experienced. The rear glass walls, facing West and South, open to rolling farmland below and the mountains beyond.
The entry level serves as the primary living area, with a guest wing carved into the hilltop on a level below. Functionality and energy efficiency are achieved both by this programmatic zoning as well as the careful choice of materials, fixtures, fittings, and energy. The ‘greening’ of the house complements its visual warmth, grounding the modern structure’s rural landscape.
Photos: Daniel Levin
SPG Architects transformed an abandoned steel frame and concrete slab structure into a five-level, 18,000 square foot, indoor-outdoor residence on a rain-forested mountainside overlooking the Golfo Dulce in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. The primary criteria for this project were to be environmentally sensitive, technologically advanced, and modernist by design. A spectacular view out to the bay merges with the infinity pool. A flexible building perimeter provides a seamless flow from inside to out that completely blends the built environment with the natural setting.
The house is entirely self-sufficient. Energy is provided by photovoltaic cells on the roof and a hydro-electric plant on site. Roof water collects in a 75,000-gallon cistern, precluding the need for well water and eliminating any impact on the water table. Appliances and lighting were chosen for low power consumption. Solar hot water panels provide domestic hot water. Maximizing cross ventilation and ample overhangs has eliminated the need for air conditioning in this year-round tropical climate.
The house incorporates movable and adjustable louvered and screened panels in each living space and movable glass walls that allow the rooms to fully open so that indoors is completely merged with the outdoors. Cabinetry was locally fabricated from trees originally harvested from the foundation area and all materials were locally sourced whenever possible. These technological features, architectural planning and sensitive detailing create an indigenous yet distinctly modern piece of architecture. Via