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Breaking The Mold: Austin “Edgeland House” Mixes Sci Fi & Native American Design

No that’s not a grass tipi.  It’s a futuristic eco friendly house by architecture firm Bercy Chen called The Edgeland House. It was designed for a Sci Fi author located just on the outside of Austin, Texas in a rehabilitated brownfield.  The Edgeland House maximizes the use of natural resources and represents a new wave of eco friendly futuristic houses currently being built around the world.

It is a modern re-inerpretation of one of the oldest typologies in North America, the Native American Pit House.  The Pit House is normally sunken and uses the earth to maintain thermal comfort.  The Edgeland House includes an insulative green roof with nine inches of soil that includes 40 native species of plants and wild flowers. 

The house is built 7 feet below ground.  The insulated roof and the 7 foot excavation uses the earth’s mass to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  And for maximum efficiency, a geothermal heap pump is also installed under the house and is the central heating and cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground.  It uses the earth as a heat source in the winter or a heat sink in the summer.  This design takes advantage of the moderate temperatures in the ground to boost efficiency and reduce the operational costs of heating and cooling systems

The house is actually two separate areas, one side includes the bedrooms and the other side includes the living quarters. In order to go from one area to the other, you must go outside.   The interior of the house includes floor to ceiling windows, helping to give that indoor outdoor feel and act like a visual connector to the two separate units. The windows also have a reason for being included as its vacuum pump glazing reduces the amount of heat or cool air that can seep out of the house.   MG9C7608

Modern appliances and sleek furniture is a stark contract to the outside of the home and it’s ability to blend in with the environment. The inside feels more like a spaceship, which is exactly what the the Sci Fi author and architects wanted.

The house is created to resemble a small spaceship, with the two areas of the house representing the wings.  A small smart pool, representing the point of the spaceship, uses diamond electrodes instead of chlorine to clean the water.

Below is the Bercy Chen firm’s features diagram that details every component of the house, including the green roof, the glass enclosures, the smart pool, and the buried geothermal pump.

 The Edgeland House inspires people to view house construction in a different way.   This house shows there is more options than just building on top of land, you can also build around and inside of the earth.  We commend the innovative architects and the fearless owner who helped pave the way for the world to think differently about how to incorporate the environment into a house design.

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Posted on: August 24, 2013