On your approach, you probably wouldn't even know this house is a house. The front rises out of the ground like the facade of a secret underground lab, but from the back, it's a giant windowed beauty. It's called the Edgeland Residence, and it's a re-interpretation of a Native American pit house.
A pit house is a dwelling that's sunken into the ground to take advantage of the earth's natural insulation to keep temps cool in the summer and warm during the winter. As far as the Edgeland House is concerned, the heating part isn't so much of an issue. It's located in Austin, Texas, where in the summer, sweltering triple digits are status quo. Thus the amazing pool on the back of the home, the giant airy windows, and the grass-covered roof. It's probably a nice place to hide out from the elements, and you can imagine that no one leaves the pool area come July. [Bercy Chen via Architizer] (Source)
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. (Source)
A Native American Pit House