one level on a hillside
We’ve started to sketch out designs for a house we plan to build on a hillside lot. There is about 4′ of elevation change in the 100′ building envelope so it is a gentle slope. What are the pros/cons of building a one level house on this lot? Any guidance is appreciated!
Any guidance, bg? LOL
Sure. Continue piling up dirt over that back wall and completely cover the roof. Do it right and it's your heating/cooling system, passive. Unfortunately, your excavation won't give you enough dirt. I had to import some here too.
Welcome to BT, filling in your profile (particularly location) helps immensely. Not that buried houses are restricted to one climate. Some here think I'm prejudiced. They're correct.
PAHS Designer/Builder- Bury it!
Are you asking about the pros/cons of different ways to do it?
EX: bring the sloped area up to grade with packed infill and retaining walls so you can build a monolithic slab?
vs. build a foundation under the lower area
Yes, we're looking at the pro/cons of a one-level house vs. a two-level house on a hillside lot. We want to build a smaller house, 1600 - 1800 sq ft plus garage, but our CC&Rs require a minimum of 1000 sq ft at grade. So if we build a 2-story the house would be larger than we want. But a 2-story seems better suited to the lot. We're evaluating the tradeoffs right now and have our list of pros/cons. We're also talking with local builders but this forum seemed like a good place to get additional information. Thanks!
A four-foot fall over 100 feet is easily dealt with with grading and step-walls, if you are committed to build the ranch. A good landscape architect can show you how, and you might be well advised to contact one now.
If there is "elbow room" for good and creative siting, the house can be built with its garage tucked into the uphill side of the lot, and the garage foundation built with its endwall as a hybrid sort of retaining wall, the wall extending out on the drive-in side.
That was done for a house that has made one appearance in Fine Homebuilding mag, and has appeared in two of Sarah Susanka's "Not So Big" series of house design books.
The least expensive house you can build is a two-story simple box, as you probably know. Ranches cost more because they have larger foundations and roofs, given houses with equivalent living space.
See VATom's post.
Go down into that hill.
There are three kinds of people: Predaters, Prey, and Paladins. The really strange thing is that Prey feels safer from Predators by disarming Paladins.
Definitly use the slope and hill to protect the house.
If not completely buried then at least design it for maximum southern exposure, and the roof above surrounding grade only enough to satisfy ecress requirments. A good design will not have egress needed on the bermed sides of the structure.
Use ICF's for the walls perimeter walls.
Any building that is sheltered from the winters extreme surface temps and tucked out of the wind will be a lot more energy efficient.