Hill House

Montecito, CA

What if a modern architectural estate could blend into its ridge top ocean view site and “disappear” into the natural topography?

Montecito, CA

Construction 2018


14,000 SF


The house sits at the top of a ridgeline with expansive views south to the Pacific Ocean, north to the Santa Ynez mountains, and west to Santa Barbara Harbor. To maximize these views without creating a visual disturbance, the house is conceived as an extension of the ridge top. The entirety of the house occurs underneath a continuous Green Roof garden that seamlessly blends with the site.

The clients desire an environmentally resilient Net-Zero home with resource efficient energy systems. The green roof and integration of the residence into the site achieves these aims.

The rounded shape of the roof is sheared off in areas to open up walls to views for large entertainment and gallery spaces as well as intimate living and working spaces. The constantly shifting ceiling height creates a clear organizational strategy radiating from the center of the home.

This slicing of the hilltop creates deep courtyard spaces, allowing the lower level to connect to the landscape and have sky and mountain views. A network of pathways and staircases connect the interior of the house with the site, winding their way up the rooftop and terminating in a viewing deck with 360-degree views.

By interpolating between a series of profile curves that revolve around the center-point, a smooth undulated ceiling is generated on the underside of the concrete roof, producing a variety of spatial conditions. This sweeping ceiling continues to the edge of the building, creating unique framed views from within the structure. The geometry is then carved and punctured to create additional pathways, spaces, and openings for light and air.

Robin Donaldson, AIA

Greg Griffin

Greg Griffin
Erin Lani
Rafael Lopez
Nicklaus Schwaller
Alex Towpasz