Bercy Chen Studio is giving land in Austin, Texas a second chance. Taking what was once an industrial site, they designed the Edgeland House, a structure that’s built into the landscape and keeps its carbon footprint small. The triangular roof is lined with lush green sod and the house is designed to look like a scar and represent a healing of a barren past.
For those who inhabit the Edgeland House, it’s a tranquil experience. Nestled below the ground, greenery fills the view. Bercy Chen worked with a local wildflower center to reintroduce over 40 native species of plants and wildlife to the site, and the house itself is divided into separated sleeping and living pavilions. To pass from one to another requires a walk outdoors to enjoy what nature has to offer.
The Edgeland House is modeled after the Native American pit hut, one of the oldest housing typologies in North America. A sunken structure, it takes advantage of the Earth's mass for more efficient heating and cooling. Additionally, the building has some hi-tech features like phase-change thermal systems that store heat and improve sustainability. Bercy Chen’s goal with this project was to not only make their design aesthetically pleasing, but to raise awareness that we must be sensitive to the planet’s finite resources.