Sometimes a client and a site are so well matched that an architectural diagram comes to mind almost immediately. That was the case in the Eagle Bluffs Residence, a 4,300 SF home in the rolling hills south of Columbia, MO. The design team was immediately taken with the way the client talked about the land as if they were engaging in an active dialogue with it. They spoke of the land as an intensely interesting, quirky, and cantankerous old dude, whose opinion they deeply respected. Their old friend was up to be built on — but only if the design team responded with a form and experience that was truly integrated to the hills, grasses, trees, and sky that already called this place home, and had for centuries.
The design team began by taking a simple two-story + basement "Monopoly House" form and adapting it to the sloping site. The east section of the form engaged the hill by sloping down it and extending, creating a slightly kinked L-shape. The west section was carved away to create a terrace on the upper level. A dogtrot was created on the main level, allowing the exterior to literally flow through the house, from the street down the hill to the woods and the Katy Trail bike path beyond. This led to further adjustments of the form, a true dialogue between the clients' needs and the site. The dogtrot expands downward, into a series of cor-ten clad terraces, planted with native perennials collected by the owner. These terraces are purposefully wild, with the lowest level terrace including a simple swimming pool, surrounded by a patio that is itself integrated with grasses up to its edge.
The materials of the house further reflect the connection to nature: with charred face-nailed pine siding and clear cedar soffits on the exterior, and cedar, natural slate, and manganese ironspot brick on the interior.