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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