Design Dream

This hidden retreat is quite possibly the coolest house in Austin


Edgeland House from "Retreat: The Modern House in Nature"
Photo by Paul Bardagjy
Edgeland House from "Retreat: The Modern House in Nature"
Photo by Paul Bardagjy
Edgeland House from "Retreat: The Modern House in Nature"
Photo by Paul Bardagjy
Edgeland House from "Retreat: The Modern House in Nature"
Photo by Paul Bardagjy
Edgeland House from "Retreat: The Modern House in Nature"
Photo by Paul Bardagjy
Edgeland House from "Retreat: The Modern House in Nature"
Photo by Paul Bardagjy
Retreat: The Modern House in Nature
Photo courtesy of Rizzoli

Almost completely hidden from view sits a one-of-a-kind property in Austin that has received international attention for its unbelievable design. The latest attention comes from Retreat: The Modern House in Nature, a beautiful architectural book whose 300 pages are filled with stunning homes from across the globe.

Written by Ron Broadhurst and published by Rizzoli in fall 2015, Retreat goes inside “the most forward-looking spaces designed for rustic living in the 21st century.” From New Zealand to Washington, off-grid and green homes are highlighted with gorgeous photography and informational tidbits on the architectural and design approach of each project.

Built in 2012 by local firm Bercy Chen Studio and commissioned by a science fiction writer, the Edgeland House in Austin was constructed by allowing the surrounding natural beauty to inform the space.

Step into the secretive escape by flipping through the images above.

Taking inspiration from the Native American pit house, a structure partially dug into the ground, the style helps with insulation to maintain comfortable temperatures year-round.

Bercy Chen Studio collaborated with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to reintroduce over 75 native species of wildflowers and grass to preserve the local ecosystem.

The home is broken up into two pavilions, each with sharply angled roofs that provide shaded terrace space. While one pavilion houses the kitchen, dining, and living area, the other encompasses two bedrooms.

The interiors were also outfitted with energy-saving and environmentally sustainable features like advanced water transfer systems that supply heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning.

Each space is characterized by sharp angles with floor-to-ceiling reflective glass windows. The living area's open floor plan also boasts a stainless steel countertop that extends for a sculptural dining space.

Both sides of the home have their own entrances from the outside and face the central outdoor walkway, the adjacent courtyard, and pool.

The rear of the home opens to the triangular pool, which, if you were to fly overhead, would resemble an arrowhead.

Built on the banks of the Colorado River, the home brings the natural surroundings in by utilizing a 7-foot excavation and 9-inch deep green roof.

Retreat: The Modern House in Nature, written by Ron Broadhurst and published by Rizzoli in October 2015, features modern homes from across the world that have entered into a "dialogue with nature in sustainable yet stylish ways."

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