Last spring the Hillside House, designed by SB Architects, received a lot of press coverage when it was awarded LEED-platinum certification by the USGBC and best green house of May 2011 by Greensource magazine. LGA Studios would like to show it off to our Colorado clientele as a successful example of a hillside residence.

Constructed in the canyon town of Mill Valley, California, this beautiful home embraces its awkward 49% grade, 120'x80' lot. Four stories of stacked volumes cascade down, their proportions natural and whimsical. The house was carefully laid out so that one elevator and set of stairs connect all the floors - that way the trek from the first story garage to the fourth story kitchen is a breeze.

The architect, Scott Lee, also used the site's slope as an opportunity to add decks and terraces to several stories of the house, and to open up levels two through four to natural light and ventilation. The interior square footage is only 2,116 but the outdoor living areas add another 1,567 square feet.

And yes, this modern lodge also shows some superb sustainable design. Despite all the glass, it is so well insulated that deepest parts of the house don't need heating or cooling. Sitting on the natural hillside shale also keeps it cool. The deep overhangs prevent the rooms with windows from over-heating. Western Red Cedar siding was one of many local materials used. Plus the is the usual round-up of high-tech gear: photovoltaic panels, LED lighting and solar tubes, etc, saves and creates energy.

If you would like more information on this project, check an interview with the architect or this slide show of gorgeous photos.