The Hydro House by Rael San Fratello Architects is a conceptual design which, using water, creates a micro climate in desert regions to regulate internal temperatures. A roof pond along with a pond in the courtyard and a unique water retaining wall system are the primary water sources. Through evapotranspiration, breezes penetrate the outer courtyard’s skin and are cooled as they crosses the water surface and then into the home. A large operable skylight on the leeward side allows air to escape, and by stack effect draws air through the structure.

The thick walls collect and store rainwater that overflows from the roof pond. The water’s thermal mass in the walls along with the roof act as a thermal flywheel. By absorbing the heat of the day the mass then expels it at night, moderating internal temperatures. The top of the walls also house planters which help shade the roof. A white patina also assists in reflecting unwanted daytime heat gain.

The inner courtyard pond is flanked by the private quarters and public spaces forming a V shaped footprint. All rooms facing the pond feature shaded glass doors that allow cross ventilation. The roof and walls have multiple round skylights to distribute daylight.

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