An unusual shape rises from the ground, from the ashes of a rehabilitated brownfield site located in Austin. This strange project was conceived and designed by Bercy Chen Studio LP with a triangular form covered by a dense layer of soil. Due to its location, the house is considered to be energy efficient thanks to the natural protection against cold in winter and hot air in summer offered by the blanket of sod that provides insulation.
The half cut of the construction is accentuated by a long swimming pool which offers an additional thermal mass that merges into the geothermal heating and cooling system. The access on the platform that holds the construction is trough a round of stairs, placing so the site on a lower lever and helping thus camouflage it better.
The final touch was adding a green roof to complete this Eco-vision.
“Edgeland Residence is located on a rehabilitated brownfield site and is a modern re‐interpretation of one of the oldest housing typologies in North America, the Native American Pit House. The Pit House, typically sunken, takes advantage of the earth’s mass to maintain thermal comfort throughout the year. Like this timeless dwelling, Edgeland Residence’s relationship to the landscape both in terms of approach as well as building performance involves an insulative green roof and a 7‐foot excavation‐ gaining benefits from the earth’s mass to help it stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Such an architectural setting presents an opportunity for maximum energy efficiency when combined with high performance systems such as the integrated hydronic HVAC system. The mechanical system combines: hydronic heating & cooling, geothermal heat exchange, phase‐change thermal heat storage and a green roof for maximum energy efficiency. The project also features a smart pool that provides an additional thermal mass that ties into the geothermal system.
Edgeland Residence is about healing the land and ameliorating the scars of the site’s industrial past. The project raises awareness about a diminishing natural landscape and its finite resources by creating a balance between the surrounding industrial zone and the natural river residing on opposite side of the site.
Both visually and functionally, Edgeland Residence touches on architecture as site‐specific installation art and as an extension of the landscape. The program is broken up into two separate pavilions, for the living and sleeping quarters, and requires direct contact with the outside elements to pass from one to the other. This project sets new standards for sustainability while providing great aesthetic qualities through its small footprint and integrated mechanical features.”
The ecological building has become a trend nowadays. But we are hoping that this trend won’t disappear as others in the past did and that it will become the usual method of construction, keeping in mind the surrounding environment, climate, location.