Going green doesn't have to mean losing luxury
It's not a shabby location, situated in lush hills overlooking a valley below, but the Beverly Skyline house in Texas has more to shout about than the view. This small private project has recently been awarded the Green Good Design Award for “The World’s Leading Sustainable Green Design" by The European Center for Architecture and The Chicago Athaneum, a prestigious international award indeed. But what can a luxury apartment in the hills have to offer in terms of sustainability?..
Lots, it would seem. The project is not a new build. In the spirit of the concept, an old 70s building is recycled along with new additions created from further recycled materials including glass bricks from an old hospital! The project began as a modest remodel, say the architects at Bercy Chen Studio, but turned into a full master-planning for the site.
With the previous building not fulfilling its full potential to take advantage of the spectacular views, the main aim was to reconnect the building with its surroundings and utilise the steep topography. A native garden and creek at the bottom of the property were to be integrated into the design. The glass bricks were used to create the front facade of the house and the originally monolithic nature of the house was further dematerialized through the use of slats installed as rain screens. Pools and reservoirs integrated into the design collect and store rain water and use it as a living water feature which acts to further connect the house with its surroundings and create a spiritual environment. Planting is predominantly native to the central Texas region limiting the necessity for watering.
Delivered within a modest budget, the house acts as an example of responsible redesign without the utilitarian aesthetics.