Sometimes industry and new technology can only take us so far, and we have to look to the ways of the past for viable solutions. That seems to be the case with building techniques since many building methods are harmful to the earth producing buildings that don't operate on an eco-friendly level. Bercy Chen an architect based in Austin, Texas looked to the original people of the land for inspiration on how to build a home that would coexist with the earth and work with the cycles of the sun and weather patterns. He researched traditional Pit Houses that were built by Pueblo and Cherokee People who. These incredible Pit Houses the Indigenous people built operated very logically and also intuitively with the earth to create a harmonious living environment. As with all of their ways, the Indigenous people relied on the earth to provide them with what they needed to live while giving back and living in balance with nature. Their Pit Houses used the thermal mass of the soil and earth as well as plants on the roof of the house to create a comfortable temperature inside their homes. So in the winter, the earth would help to warm their homes, and in the summer it would cool the home. This is one of the oldest housing designs in North America.
The Edgeland Residence is located on a rehabilitated brownfield site and is a modern version of the Pit House. Built underground, the modern home uses similar concepts as the original Pit House to maintain a comfortable temperature no matter what the weather is like outside. The home also features the insulative green roof and a 7‐foot excavation all helping to maintain the oven temperature. The modern concepts that were brought into the new home design were glass windows which open the home up to the outdoors making it feel a lot more open and spacious. It's built into two different areas one for the living area and one for the sleeping area, so there's some good privacy between the two. To get from one area of the home to the other, the owners have to go outside to reach the rooms. So it offers a nice way for the homeowners to remain connected with the outside world. This home also creates a balance between the industrial area that is surrounding it and the beautiful river and natural site. So not only is this home eco-centred, but it's also using building techniques of the past to honor the traditional roots of the land, and it incorporates modern art and architecture all in one.
From the front view of the home, you see the green roof and the angled roof lines as well as all of the glass panes leading to the corridor created from concrete. To enter into the home, you have to walk down a flight of stairs onto the concrete that leads into full glass doors to either the living area or the sleeping area. Walking to the back of the home there is an open area where the living area is above ground, and there is a pool in the backyard as well. The living area is very open and bright with a luxurious modern design emulating the exterior design with the use of angles and straight edges. The kitchen area is open to the living room, and there is some great eat-in dining in the kitchen as well. They kept the decor very simple and minimal with neutral tones and ambient lighting. This is a very inspiring design that holds a part of the past and the ways of the original people of the land.