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flint hill

The house is a porch....

Rappahannock County, a county located in the northern Piedmont region Virginia, and adjacent to Shenandoah National Park, is the home for our project at Flint Hill. Much of the land in Rappahannock County consists of small mountains that culminate in the west at the Blue Ridge mountains of Shenandoah National Park. The county is primarily rural in nature, and as a certified International Dark-Sky Park it is is one of the last places on the East Coast with a view of the Milky Way. These characteristics - rolling, mountainous, foothills to the Shenandoah, with clear skies allowing views for great distances - form the context for this project.

The design agenda called for a house compound comprising living and sleeping wings, carport, garden, pool and bocce court, connected to the sixty-four acre site. Interior and exterior spaces are thus connected to each other, where movement between and among them allows for constantly engagement with the distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The house forms are borrowed from local farm outbuildings such as grain storage sheds. Oriented to capture light and breeze, two wings are guided by the site topography and split by the view to the Blue Ridge mountains captured upon entry. With the view and topography demanding that the house be oriented towards the west, shade is created by the porch and exterior motorized shades. While the orientation of the house runs counter to conventional wisdom regarding the solar gain that comes from a westerly orientation, the strategies for shading systems, building envelope, and mechanical systems achieved a HERS rating of 21, incorporating an 8kW photovoltaic system.

Along the predominantly east-west axis, spaces unfold in layers wherein the living room opens to deep terrace-porch over looking the meadow. The spaces along the almost north-south axis are aligned with each other and blend interior to exterior, living to pool, via views and materials such as tile and cast-stone pavers. There are several kinds of landscapes that comprise the setting of the house compound - meadow, manicured, growing landscapes. These landscapes join the buildings to the hillsides and natural terraces.

Team Credit:

1200AE Architectural Engineers PLLC

Gregg Bleam Landscape Architects

Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath

Josh Catlett Engineering


Scouting photos - John Cole Photo

Landscape and evening porch photos - Emily Hagen Photography

Miscellaneous photos - Amy Gardner