edgeland house by bercy chen studio

edgeland house

Architects : Bercy Chen Studio LP

Location : Austin, Texas

Design Team : Thomas Bercy, Calvin Chen, Dan Loe, Ryan Michael, Brad Purrington, Agustina Rodriguez

Area : 0.0 ft2

Project Year : 2012

Photographs : Paul Bardagjy

Manufacturers : AGUSTINA RODRIGUEZ, Agi Miagi, C.R. Laurence, GUNTER RECHT, Geo-Solutions, Hafele, Rad Furniture, Recht Lighting, Sika, The Ecosystem Design Group, US LUMBER BROKERS, BEN BAKER

mg9c7648Edgeland House 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, the Edgeland House’s insulative green roof and 7‐foot excavation into the ground, keeps it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The mechanical system combines: hydronic heating and a green roof for maximum energy efficiency.

Edgeland House 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 the opposite side of the site.

Both visually and functionally, Edgeland House touches on architecture as site‐specific installation art and as an extension of the landscape. The program is broken up into two separate pavilions, 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.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center collaborated to reintroduce over 40 native species of plants and wildflowers to the Edgeland House green roof and site, serving to help protect the local ecosystem.


Bercy Chen Studio LP

Bercy Chen Studio LP is an architecture and urban planning firm with design/build capabilities based in Austin, Texas founded in 2001 by partners Thomas Bercy and Calvin Chen. Thomas is from Belgium and Calvin is from Taiwan by way of Australia; the partners’ European and Asian backgrounds form a design philosophy of unique perspectives. The work is influenced by vernacular precedents from various cultures- whether Islamic, Indian, African or pre-columbian, while maintaining respect for the particular contemporary contextual conditions. Due to this unique approach, the work has received national and international attention. Bercy Chen Studio won the prestigious “Emerging Voices” prize from the Architectural League of New York in 2006. Every year the League selects 7 of the most innovative designers from Europe and North America for this award. In the same year the firm was profiled in Architectural Record’s December 2006 “Design Vanguard” award issue, selected as one of top 10 emerging design firms in the world. Despite their international achievements, Calvin and Thomas remain active participants of the local community. Calvin serves on the City of Austin’s Design Commission and participated on several initiatives, including the “Create Austin” Cultural Masterplanning project. Both he and Thomas serve on the board of advisors for the Austin Museum of Art.

Bercy Chen Studio LP is committed to collaborating with clients in identifying design solutions and planning strategies to create innovative designs based on environmentally sustainable and financially viable business models in both the public and private sector. Having experience as a design/build operation, the firm’s first hand knowledge of construction & finance is crucial in ensuring successful project implementation. The firm is a member of the City of Austin’s Green Building Program and USGBC with certified 3 Star projects.

In 2012 the firm announced an expansion into Mexico, with David Potes at the helm of Bercy Chen Studio’s offices in Monterrey.

Bercy Chen Studio has been featured in publications from over 20 countries worldwide, including the leading San Francisco based publication on creative modern design: Dwell magazine. HGTV also featured the firm’s work in June of 2006.


PV Systems
Bercy Chen Studio and Avant Guardist Solar is now a Registered PV Contractor with Austin Energy. Bercy Chen Studio employs North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Certified Solar PV Installers, a nationally recognized certification. This certification ensures that customers will qualify for the Austin Energy incentive rebates offered to residential customers. Through AE rebates and additional Federal tax credits, customers can realize solar PV arrays at a 50% reduction off installed cost. Additionally, a typical solar array can account for roughly half of the energy needs of the average household. Bercy Chen Studio offers full service estimation, design and installation of PV arrays by manufacturers such as Solyndra, Sharp, Sanyo, Suntech, and others. BCS is currently at work designing and installing several PV arrays which will be producing power in the next 6 to 9 months.

Green Roofing
Bercy Chen Studio and Avant Guardist Specialty Fabrication have developed a proprietary planted-roof system. Whereas conventional greenroof manufacturers do not supply the water-barrier membrane, the most critical and costly component, the BCS system contains all components from water-barrier through protection and drainage layers to soil and vegetation. The system can accommodate a series of plant species, but is geared toward native flowers and grasses. The benefits of using native plant species include compatibility with native fauna as well as minimal watering requirements. The BCS planted-roof system is currently being installed at half the cost of other systems. Design and install of several system is underway and completion is due within the coming year.

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