How would you feel about living underground? While owning an underground home, or one that is partially sheltered by earth, is not for everyone there are some particular advantages, both practical and psychological.
On the plus side – here are 20 advantages as described by the people at www.underground-homes.com
Impressed? Well, I am not convinced yet, so let’s take a look at some homes which have taken the plunge and gone underground, either entirely or for a significant proportion.
The Villa Vals look like a satellite dish to me. When builders were given the surprise approval to break ground so close to the famous thermal baths of Vals in Switzerland they decided to conceal the villa inside an alpine slope. The formal entrance of the home is through a barn and an underground tunnel on the other side of the hill. What do you think?
Wow – this looks pretty spooky. It’s called The Earth House and is in Seoul, Korea. Architect Byoung Soo Cho built an underground home for himself in the middle of a thick forest and rice fields, about an hour east of Seoul. It has a 23-foot-by-23-foot courtyard, plus a kitchen, a library, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. The inspiration for the home goes back to his interest in Taoism and negative and positive spaces. Cho uses the home for self-reflection, meditation, and gazing at stars. I wonder what it feels like to be in this space – sounds very worthy.
This, on the other hand looks perfectly liveable in. The Cave House Gross in Greifensee, Switzerland. Apparently, the owner of this dwelling needed to build more space for his family but didn’t want to have to ask for permission from his neighbours so he went underground. He created two sunken courtyards with three additional bedrooms for his kids below ground – not sure this approach would work in Britain – I imagine you would still have to get planning.
This looks pretty light and airy. It’s not clear from this image but a lot of this home in actually hidden in the hillside. The owners have built it in a beautiful nature reserve in Huizen, the Netherlands.
The Pachacamac House – in Pachacamac, Peru looks like it belongs to the future and the past at the same time. Built for two retired philosophers, the buried home sits about 60 miles outside Lima near pre-Inca remains. A glass-and-metal box rests at the entrance, symbolizing “architectural intervention on untouched nature,” – oh these wordy philosophers! Do you like it? Doesn’t look very homely but maybe it is better close up.
Although this design is undeniably severe it does have a kind of pure logic to it which appeals. Known as, Windowless Home – in Leiria, Portugal, it has the living room located under a giant roof window that allows light to stream in, while the more private areas of the home (including the bedrooms) sit underground and open into a private courtyard.
And lastly here’s The Earth Shelter in Northern Michigan, which aims to be bomb-proof so-to-speak (in more ways than one). With living quarters, a greenhouse, a farm (complete with cows, chickens, and donkeys), a storageroom, and a walk-in freezer, the house does all it can to be self-contained. All set for the Zombie Apocalypse then?
Are you ready to go underground? I think I will put it off for a while.
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