Futuristic Features of Underground Homes

Modern Architects Go Deep

For decades, maverick architects like William F. Lamb (New York’s Empire State Building) and César Pelli (the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur) pushed the limits of engineering to build ever taller skyscrapers. The tallest building on the planet today, the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai, stands at a staggering 160 stories. At 2,716.5 feet, the building is more than a half-mile tall. Today, a growing number of innovative architects and developers around the world are blazing one new trail to the next frontier in home design and development: They’re going underground. If you think that living underground means occupying a cave-like rabbit warren of dark and dank rooms, you’re dead wrong. Here are some of the most impressive Hobbit-holes out there or in development around the world. Photo credit: Joi Ito


Perdu

Underground home design has become so advanced that it’s hard to tell once inside that you’re underground at all. A house on the outskirts of Manchester, England is being planned with a sizable 4,300 square feet of sunlight-bathed subterranean living space, with nearly a third of an acre of gardens above ground. The asking price for the yet-to-be-built is £2 million, or $3.1 million. Photo credit: Jackson-Stops & Staff


Perdu

A discreet glass-roofed stone pavilion marks the entrance to the house, where an elevator or floating circular stairway leads down to the home’s upper level, which contains the main living spaces. A wide, tubular, sky-lit shaft at the center of the structure, as well as several strategically placed skylights, keep the essentially windowless house light and bright. Photo credit: Jackson-Stops & Staff


Perdu

In addition to open-plan living and dining rooms, the circular house has a gently curving eat-in kitchen, equipped with the latest and greatest gadgets out there. Photo credit: Jackson-Stops & Staff


Perdu

Perhaps the most unusual feature of this house is in the upper level master bedroom, which includes an entrance gallery, dressing area, private bathroom, and a cabinet that opens up to reveal a stainless steel waterslide. Why put a waterslide in your living quarters? Well, how else would you get from the bedroom to the indoor swimming pool on the lower floor? Photo credit: Jackson-Stops & Staff


Perdu

In addition to the swimming pool–and that crazy chute–the lower floor contains two bedrooms with private dressing areas, bathrooms, and access to an external staircase that brings light into the lower floor and allows direct access to the ground level garden. The lower floor also includes a small workout room, laundry facilities, a changing room with a shower, and a circular spa. For more information, visit Jackson-Stops & Staff Photo credit: Jackson-Stops & Staff


Pachacamac Hill House

The “Pachacamac Hill House,” designed by Longhi Architects and tucked into a rocky ridge near Lima, Peru, was built for a couple of retired philosophers as a radically contemporary intervention into the rugged and unforgiving landscape. This isn’t your grandma’s retirement home. Photo Credit: Longhi Architecture


Pachacamac Hill House

Trough-like cuts in the landscape lined with stones from the site itself pull light and air deep into the interior rooms. The house also minimizes the need for furniture by building in certain necessities. The dining room table, for example, is little more than a wedge-shaped concrete slab that juts out dramatically from the wall. A huge frameless glass window at the wide end of the table, meanwhile, provides a narrow but impressive view down one of the stone troughs to the surrounding mountains. Photo Credit: Longhi Architecture


Pachacamac Hill House

The multilevel interior represents a complete departure from anything that resembles a conventional residence. However, as different from a Dutch Colonial or faux-Tuscan tract house as it is, the “Pachacamac Hill House” is a proper residence with a dramatic glass-walled living room, three family bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. There is also a separate, underground two-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment for guests, or staff. For more information visit Longhi Architecture. Photo Credit: Longhi Architecture


Earth House

Set into a clearing on a wooded property surrounded by rice paddies an hour east of Seoul, architect Byoung Soo Cho’s ‘Earth House’ is a retreat residence that at first glance looks like little more than a concrete hole in the ground. The flat concrete roof of the underground dwelling sits flush with the surrounding landscape, allowing the entire house to be all but invisible except at night, when the floodlit courtyard emits an eerie combination of light and shadow on the surrounding trees. Photo credit: Byoung Soo Cho Architects


Earth House

A narrow slit contains a staircase that leads down from the surface into a spare 23-foot square courtyard. Embedded into the concrete walls of the courtyard are slices of the trees that were felled to build the barely-there structure. The wooden discs are designed to decay and eventually sprout grass and other foliage. Photo credit: Byoung Soo Cho Architects


Earth House

A narrow porch runs the width of the house and marks the entry to the intensely minimal interiors constructed of concrete and recycled wood. There are six small rooms, all with radiant heated floors: kitchen, library, two bedrooms and a basic, but striking, bathroom with a large wood Japanese-style soaking tub made of hinoki cypress.For more information, visit Byoung Soo Cho Architects. Photo credit: Byoung Soo Cho Architects


Silo Home

Underground homes in the United States seem more popular with the survivalist set than the architecturally forward-thinking. One underground option the deep pocketed doomsdayer might find appealing is a house built in a decommissioned missile silo in upstate New York, available for $2.3 million. Photo credit: Franwick Industries


Silo Home

The pristine 105-acre property near Lake Placid includes 10 separate building lots, a private runway, a hangar and a recently remodeled open plan surface home with a contemporary design vibe and wraparound porches. The surface house conceals the entry to the underground living quarters. Photo credit: Franwick Industries


Silo Home

Below ground in what was once the launch control center, two floors with 2,300 square feet of space have been converted with all the conveniences and amenities of a more conventional home. Photo credit: Franwick Industries


Silo Home

The upper level of the underground dwelling includes an open-plan living/dining and kitchen area and a half bathroom. The lower level, accessed via a spiral staircase that wraps around a concrete pillar, offers three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Photo credit: Franwick Industries


Silo Home

A 2,000 pound blast door opens from the finished area into an additional 14,000 sq. feet of unfinished space where missiles were once stored. The circular multi-level space has a 50 foot diameter, burrows 180 feet into the earth and is just waiting to be repurposed into the world’s first hyper-secure underground mega-mansion. For more information visit http://www.silohome.com/. Photo credit: Franwick Industries


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