We thought we’d found Shaun White‘s dreamhouse, with a pad equipped with a fully skateable interior. But once Shaun settles down and has some kids, he’ll probably want something a little more serious and eco-savvy. Like the Snow House, designed by Nicolas Dorval-Bory and Emilio Marin.
The design was an entrant in a competition by Xella, which was looking for creative uses of its “aerated concrete.” Those blocks look and function like regular concrete, but they’re also filled with tiny air bubbles, which serve two green purposes: Reducing shipping weight and increasing insulating properties. (Think of a thermos, which keeps your beverages warm using a glass-sealed layer of air.)
The green bonafides don’t stop there. During the day, a geothermal heat pump is used to pump air into a “trombe wall.” Those walls trap air inside them. Since they’re exposed to the sun, the walls warm the air via the greenhouse effect. In turn, that warmed air is circulated through the house at night. Meanwhile, on the outside, the house is coated in a black roughcast, to absorb and hold the sun’s rays, creating warmth and prevent snow from burying the house. And finally, the rooms themselves are laid out according to heating needs. Bedrooms and bathrooms lie at the house’s south end, where they’re exposed to the sun but buried partially in the ground, thanks to the site’s natural slope. That means they’re generally warmer. The cooler portions of the house lie on the higher, northern side.