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As amazing as this handmade home is as a work of architecture, its low cost and low-tech, low-impact construction using local materials (and mostly just a chainsaw, hammer and chisel) is at least as compelling as the finished project. This wonderful organic Woodland Home was built by family, friends and even passers by who stopped to lend a hand. Carved into a hillside and constructed from naturally-shaped walls and roofs, it hides even greater spaces inside.
Cities, empires and religions have risen and fallen around these unique underground havens once used by early Christians to hide from Roman armies, yet they remains occupied to this day – 100 square miles with 200+ underground villages and tunnel towns complete with hidden passages, secret rooms and ancient temples and a remarkably storied history of each new civilization building on the work of the last. The fields of architecture and urban design would do well to center their sustainable sights on this unique site – few structures outside of this area in Cappadocia have survived for so long. Some of these buildings go up to five full stories underground and date back to Roman times or beyond, though many caves were carved out by human hands long before their empire arrived.
They may look a bit dated at first, or at least more whimsical than required for functional living. Still, these earth houses have more to offer than custom curves and a unique aesthetic – including a set of design philosophies, strategies and tactics that are far from just superficial nods to sustainable trends.
Going green does not just mean eco-friendly building systems and sustainable construction materials.
If Wright and Le Corbusier were around today they might just agree that this home is the best of both Modernist worlds – combining the free-flowing Prairie Style interpretations of the former and the hard and linear Bauhaus concrete forms of the latter. “Comfortable” and “concrete” rarely go together, but the balance out outward-looking, floor-to-ceiling windows, groomed landscape and surrounding forests help to offset the stark contemporary white, black and gray interiors. The whole structure sitting within a single story helps as well, making it feel more tied to the ground (and effect reinforced by green ramps and roofs). Whether or not A Cero directly borrowed these strategies from early Modernists is hard to say, but it seems to work regardless.
Everyone wants to be surrounded by at least some green, particularly in a typical all-too-gray urban environment.
While made of wood rather than stone, and not quite pyramids per say (more like three-dimensional triangles), these designs are still inspired by the megalithic architecture of ancient Egypt in more than one dimension. Scalable sides are the innovative key here: hatches that allow access to each level directly from the climbable exterior shell. Like its ancient architectural forerunners, these small-scale versions have scalable sides – in this case more manageable in size.
What they say about other things may apply to nature in this case: if you can’t beat it, join it.
The plan for this complex house is surprisingly simple, but the walls and roofs bend and deform to reflect the path (and light) of the sun – and the slats add creative character that is neither accidentally abstract nor whimsically artistic. Australian architecture firm Harrison and White used computer models to create pre-construction simulations that traced the path of daylight from sunup to sundown, and every place in between. Reverse-shading techniques were used to project lighting conditions throughout the day and place angles, slopes and spaces accordingly both inside and out.
Hip as in cool (not the type), green as in eco-friendly (not the book), this far-reaching wood roof ends far past the framing of the outer house walls – a shade-supplying cantilever that is awesomely out-of-scale with the small home sheltered beneath it.
Underground homes tend to conjure mental images of hobbit holes and otherwise rounded, earthen residences.
Living underground sounds disturbing – cavernous designs, claustrophobic images of cramped quarters and fuzzy pictures with low light levels come quickly to mind.
Shaped like an abstract flower and amazing from any aerial view, this underground house is nearly invisible – a rolling hill in the landscape – viewed from on the ground and all around. From below it blends in seamlessly with the natural surroundings. From above it is a beacon in the night.
Cavernous but wide open, dark and heavy but bright and spacious, this incredible underound house is the ultimate expression of architectural opposites fused into a single spectacular earthen living structure buried in the mountainous ground of the Swiss Alps.
There are people living underground everywhere from the Swiss Alps to Las Vegas and the Caves of Cappadocia to the Wild West of America , but few strike such a stunning balance between their natural-landscape surroundings and artificial-dwelling interiors as this semi-subterranean stone home camouflaged, buried and half-hidden in th arid desert climate of rural Greece.