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Misty Edge

Jianran Ma, Flora Chen

Location: Reykjanes, Iceland
Climate: Subpolar Oceanic
Area: 35 m2

Located in Reykjanes, Iceland, the Misty Edge is a small off-the-grid retreat house for two residents. Intending to design a sustainable, self-sufficient home that also adapts to the cold subpolar climate in Iceland, we conducted research on the temperature, wind, and sun radiation in the area. Given that Iceland is a geothermal zone due to high volcano concentration, we decided to take advantage of the geothermal energy in generating heat and electricity. The solar passive system is also utilized to support regulating the indoor climate to a comfortable level. Geothermal heat pumps absorb the steam from underground to the generator to produce electricity. The condensed heat fluid (water) flows to the injection and returns to the surface to generate heat for the home heating system. The solar system uses PV roof panels for heat collection sufficient for heating domestic hot water. Eco septic tank that minimizes pollutants discharge system is installed for treating wastewater produced by bathrooms and kitchens. The house is constructed with a concrete outer shell and an inner layer of insulated glass for its durability in extreme climate. The geothermal pumps that circulate the house hide in the space in between layers.
A key source of inspiration for the curving outline of the front facade of the Misty edge is the hot spring in the region. The white concrete shell with window openings that resembles the billowing steam of the hot springs establishes a vivid connection with the local landscape, while the wooden interior lends a degree of organic warmth. The south side of the house with large glass panels makes the most of the views of the lagoons. The house contains an open-plan living room, a kitchen, a bathroom, an office cubicle on the ground floor, and a bedroom on the loft. Due to the geological location of Iceland, parallel radiation provides the most natural lighting. With the aim of maximizing sunlight exposure, the program for the house sets multiple heights for different sections. The living room closer to the window is sunken to the ground, creating a spacious lounge with a high ceiling. The kitchen in the back is at a higher level, allowing the installation of an underground geothermal system and an unblocked view of the distant scenery. The bedroom in the loft also offers a powerful vantage point looking out to the waters.
Independent from public energy suppliers, the Misty Edge is not only a sustainable house supported by geothermal and solar energy but also a cozy home integrated with the beautiful natural landscape of Iceland.

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