Architecture firm BNIM was commissioned to create a house that could fit in seamlessly with a rural area of Iowa, on a parcel of land that featured a deep, dividing ravine. Their solution to the difficulties of the landscape not only honored the homeowner's request, it turned the challenges into benefits.
Inhabitat reports that the Ravine Residence is geothermally cooled and heated, which means it connects through a piping system to the stable temperatures of the earth beneath the surface. Geothermal systems are incredibly efficient, and can cut the cost of heating and cooling bills by up to 80 percent.
The building also incorporates insulation and ventilation techniques to make the most of the heating and cooling system, and is designed for "optimized solar orientation and shading," according to BNIM's website. The roof is built so that the windows don't require shades to keep out the sun, yet are expansive enough to keep the house lit during daylight hours.
It also looks gorgeous:
The private areas of the house, like bedrooms and other retreats, are anchored on either side of the ravine, with the main living area creating the bridge in between.
The residents emphasized a need for privacy, but BNIM still managed to give the house a sense of space and light by using full glass windows. The ruggedness of the natural landscape and foliage allows light in, but gives people on the inside the feeling that they're on a retreat from the world. The wood floors and walls seem to blend with the nature outside.
Ravine House blends with the landscape rather than obliterate it. All that, and sustainable living technology, too.