Constructed on what was thought an unbuildable hillside site, the owner and architectural team embraced the challenge of designing an innovative urban house. Not only was the grade steep, but it was also 20 feet below a retaining wall that supported the street. Imaginative solutions were used to reduce the impact on the hillside by utilizing lightweight Geo-foam blocks to backfill behind the yard retaining walls to reduce the weight and size of the structural supports. The foam was used as formwork for the grade beams that are supported on 25-foot deep piers.

The house was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum designation, becoming only the fifth house in Cincinnati and seventh in Ohio to receive such a distinction. This was achieved by designing a very well-insulated and airtight exterior envelope, using very high-efficient HVAC and heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system, and paying close attention to details in all aspect of design as they relate to sustainable building concepts. The result is a house that takes full advantage of the site and showcases the spectacular views of the Ohio River and Kentucky shoreline. As Tilsley Architects first residential LEED Platinum residential design, this paved the way for other revolutionary design in sustainability. Read more about LEED design here.


January 9, 2017


Hilltop Hideaway