penda’s austrian studio is working on the design of a small residence in the german countryside, titled ‘yin & yang house’. located near the city of kassel, the property has been imagined for a small family that wants to live off-grid. consequently, the design team, led by chris precht, is transforming the roof of the structure into a vegetable, herb, and fruit garden that will ensure the home’s owners are food-independent. ‘whenever architects design a building, they take an area away that used to belong to nature,’ say the architects. ‘we try to give this space back to plants on the roof. at the same time we provide a gardening-system for the owners with greenhouses in winter and rows of planters for the rest of the year.’

penda yin yang house
all images courtesy of penda



penda’s design is defined by two separate entities, which are harmoniously connected with a green roof. as with a yin and yang sign, the two main areas of the house are intertwined — one half for living, the other for working. the two roofs surround the garden, channeling rainwater to the ground where it is stored and reused on dry days to irrigate the plants. designed for all senses, the house has its own natural scent that emanates from the plants growing on the roof. ‘my wife fei and me are also living in a small house in a rural area of austria, and the biggest advantage of the countryside is the quality of life,’ says chris precht. ‘especially when it comes to growing your own food.’

penda yin yang house
‘yin & yang house’ is located near the german city of kassel



‘growing your own herbs, vegetables and fruits, changes our relationship to food,’ says fei tang. ‘in our garden, we try to grow as much of our daily nutrition as somehow possible. the vegetables might not look as perfect as the ones from the supermarkets, but they sure taste better and are more nutritious. and most importantly you know what you eat and taste the work and love that comes from your own garden. real food becomes part of your identity. the same way that architecture does. to combine both in one harmonious design, gives a poetic image for a small plot on the countryside.’

penda yin yang house
the property has been designed for a small family that wants to life off-grid



‘after decades of unsustainable food production and food supply by industrial agriculture, we are slowly learning about the costs of health for our bodies and the biosphere caused by this system,’ says penda. ‘the key for an ecological food-cycle is to grow and eat local products. even better: to grow food by and for your own family or community. food is a common good and should not be owned by a handful of cooperations. if we work on food-strategies and food-independencies for our communities, we believe that architects and their buildings need to play an important role.’


see other projects by penda, including our interview with chris precht, on designboom here.

penda yin yang house
two roofs surround the garden, channeling rainwater to the ground

penda yin yang house
the two main areas of the house are intertwined

penda yin yang house
living and working space are connected, yet separate

penda yin yang house
windows present views of the natural setting

penda yin yang house
the bedroom would overlook the adjacent woodland

penda yin yang house
depending on the season, the house blooms with different colors and scents

penda yin yang house
the compact house illuminated from within

penda yin yang house
the residence transforms itself in accordance with its surroundings



project info:


name: yin & yang house by penda
studio: penda austria
team: chris precht, fei tang precht, dayong sun, zizhi yu
location: edersee, germany
year: 2017
size: 75 sqm / 807 sqf
credits: penda austria / diagram 1 by fernando neyra

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