Architecture

RD House keeps naturally cool inside a Dominican Republic hillside

RD House keeps naturally cool ...
The rear sections of the RD House come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The rear sections of the RD House come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
View 27 Images
Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principles seen in a pit house while building the RD House partly into a steep hillside (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principles seen in a pit house while building the RD House partly into a steep hillside (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
Multiple green roofs serve the dual purpose of helping the home blend into the hillside, and providing a degree of solar insulation (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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Multiple green roofs serve the dual purpose of helping the home blend into the hillside, and providing a degree of solar insulation (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The rear sections of the RD House come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The rear sections of the RD House come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
RD House has a total floor space of 500 sq m (5,381 sq ft) (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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RD House has a total floor space of 500 sq m (5,381 sq ft) (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
Just how effective the part-placement of RD House into the hillside is at lowering the interior temperature hasn't been revealed (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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Just how effective the part-placement of RD House into the hillside is at lowering the interior temperature hasn't been revealed (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principles seen in a pit house while building the RD House partly into a steep hillside (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principles seen in a pit house while building the RD House partly into a steep hillside (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
RD House is located in the Dominican Republic (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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RD House is located in the Dominican Republic (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The RD House was designed by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The RD House was designed by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The RD House features an in ground swimming pool (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The RD House features an in ground swimming pool (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The interior of the home includes several dining and living rooms, and a library (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The interior of the home includes several dining and living rooms, and a library (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The home's rear sections come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The home's rear sections come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The house is used as a summer getaway (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The house is used as a summer getaway (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The home's rear sections come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The home's rear sections come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The interior of the home includes several dining and living rooms, and a library (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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The interior of the home includes several dining and living rooms, and a library (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
It was a challenging project to bring about, requiring the laborious process of excavating large quantities of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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It was a challenging project to bring about, requiring the laborious process of excavating large quantities of rock (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principles seen in a pit house while building the RD House partly into a steep hillside (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
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Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principles seen in a pit house while building the RD House partly into a steep hillside (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
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Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
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Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
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Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
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Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
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Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
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Architectural drawing of the RD House (Image: Vasho)
View gallery - 27 images

Cave homes, pit houses and other part or fully-underground dwellings all offer benefits in energy efficiency when compared to typical above-ground homes, thanks to natural insulating properties that help to maintain a near-constant interior temperature. Architectural firm Vasho made use of the same principle to keep RD House cool by partially burying it within a steep Dominican Republic hillside.

Completed in 2013, RD House has a total floor space of 500 sq m (5,381 sq ft), and was a challenging project to bring about, requiring extensive waterproofing of the rear areas of the home, plus the laborious (and environmentally-destructive) process of excavating large quantities of rock. Much of the rock removed was however later re-used as a construction material.

The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)

The home's rear sections come into direct contact with the hillside, so are naturally kept a constantly cool temperature by the huge volume of rock. The forward areas and balconies also feature ample natural sunlight and outdoor areas.

RD House boasts extensive home automation, allowing fine control of lighting, entertainment devices, jacuzzi, and related amenities. It also contains a water treatment plant for the re-use of grey water, while multiple green roofs serve the dual purpose of helping the home blend into the hillside, and providing a degree of solar insulation.

The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)
The RD House by architectural firm Vasho (Photo: Eduardo Abreu)

Just how effective the part-placement of RD House into the hillside is at lowering the interior temperature isn't clear, but the fact that it's used as a summer home and needs no mechanical cooling system, air-conditioning or otherwise, suggests it certainly helps.

Source: Vasho via Arch Daily

View gallery - 27 images
2 comments
piperTom
The article refers to "natural insulating properties" ... of dirt?! That's not it, at all. The enormous thermal mass of the dirt and rock is the relevant factor here.
Island Architect
As an architect I designed a 2ksf house for an engineer who was adamant that it not exceed that number.
It was highly insulated but also glassy, and it was simply 2 story with a crawl space. The roof was a shed at two angles,
The interesting thing was that it was located next to a swampy area with lots of trees to the south. It had a huge triangular deck supported on one column which was also the stem for the circular exterior stair.
The owner reported back to me that during the summer they would open the front door to the screened door and the cool air from the south would waft in and circle up the winder stair inside and flush out the living room which was 16 x 32 with large windows and sliders.
No, this did not happen by ingeniousness from my head but it was a fortuitous lesson. And it was a pretty little house.