Astrid Hill House
Richard Bryant / arcaidimages.com

Astrid Hill House

Tsao & McKown Architects as Architects

This private residence is conceived as a model of sustainable design and a re-interpretation of a traditional Chinese courtyard house. The design divides different programmatic requirements (residential spaces for the owners and their extended family, office spaces, and entertaining areas) into separate branches connected by an open-air two-story atrium. These branches can be shut down independently in order to conserve energy use when unoccupied. The open-ended courtyards and multiple interior/exterior rooms are complemented in this tropical setting by lush landscaping that integrates the house with the surrounding land. The building’s massing and fenestration are organized to minimize solar heat gain. The design also makes use of green roofs and living walls that provide significant evaporative cooling plus a rainwater harvesting system that supplies the water features. Light wells weave from the roof to the basement to bring natural light to the interiors and reduce the need for artificial lighting during the day. A small garden supplies enough vegetables and herbs to feed the residents.

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