Bercy Chen Studio's East Village takes advantage of the abundance of sunlight in Austin, Texas with a bright red and orange facade that is interspersed with solar photovoltaic panels. Situated in a previously neglected neighborhood on East 11th street, the East Village has so many desirable "green" traits - such as green roofs, rainwater capture, and passive insect control - that it was rewarded with a 3-Star Green Building Rating. It is also one of the City of Austin’s S.M.A.R.T. (Safe, Mixed-Income, Accessible, Reasonably Priced, Transit Oriented) Housing developments. Step on in to learn more about this decidedly lo-tech but super resilient architectural masterpiece.
In the last decade, East 11th street in Austin has undergone a dramatic transformation that Bercy Chen sought to celebrate with a thriving new mixed-use property that pays respect to the world’s current energy and natural resource crisis. In addition to integrating 11 retail stores, offices, and 20 residential apartments – nearly 1/4 of which are affordable homes – it was crucial to use the most efficient building materials and recycle construction waste.
With awesome views of the city, the East Village has 2 rooftop gardens that can be enjoyed by anyone, and boasts a rainwater collection system. The southern and western facades feature piles of photovoltaic panels, as well as a screen to mitigate excess solar gain – thereby maintaining a perfect balance. Inside, the best insulation has been used to increase the project’s energy performance, no VOC paint was used whatsoever, and only low-impact indigenous plants were used for the landscaping. As far as we’re concerned, Austin just got ten notches cooler!