Set on the shores of the Colorado River, the Edgeland Residence designed by Bercy Chen Studio is known for its small footprint and big sustainable style. Located on a rehabilitated brownfield site, this ultra-modern design is inspired by North American "pit houses" which use the earth to maintain thermal comfort all year round.
This modern underground home stands out for its cool, contemporary shape - two separate pavilions enclosed in glass and covered with angled green roofs, divided by an alfresco pathway cutting through the central living space.
The two volumes separate the public living areas from the private sleeping areas. In order to get from one area to the next, you have to get out into nature - a deliberate move by the architects to bring awareness to the waning natural world and its dwindling resources.
The contrast between the raw native plantings and the refined glass is positively captivating. As you walk along the dividing outdoor corridor, you get an unobstructed view of the home's contemporary interiors through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Like a sparkling jewel buried in the grassy hillside, you just know there's more to this complex house design than its unusual aesthetic.
The house is nestled within a seven-foot excavation which coupled with its grass-topped roof passively keeps the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Additional sustainable features include hydronic heating and cooling, phase-change thermal heat storage, geothermal heat exchange and a smart pool that ties into the geothermal system.
Photo credit: Paul Bardagjy