- Edgeland Residence, United States
- House-burrow in the Swiss Alps
- Gary Neville’s Underground House
- Earth House 1, Switzerland
- Dugout in Wales for £ 3333
- A fox hole made of bags of soil
In the field of construction, two factors operate in parallel, which largely determine the trends in the development of dwelling architecture. The first of them is the rapid rise in prices for traditional energy resources against the backdrop of periodic economic shocks. The second is undoubted progress in the field of construction technologies, energy conservation, and the development of renewable energy sources. The concepts of eco-house, passive house have already firmly entered our life. In the countries of Western Europe, the least protected from the consequences of energy crises, houses with minimal or even zero energy consumption have long been a surprise..
Changes in the economy, ecology and psychology of people not only contribute to the emergence of new types of buildings, but also force to revert to traditional methods of construction. Surviving a rebirth of straw-block houses, adobe buildings have a history of thousands of years. Buildings that are partially buried in the ground – dugouts – correspond to the principles of green building. They allow you to use the free energy of the earth’s interior. At a depth of two meters in the middle zone in winter and summer, the temperature is 10-17 ° C. In the cold period, the earth gives warmth, in the summer – coolness. Heat pumps fit perfectly into the concept of a recessed eco-house as a heating system; it is easier and cheaper to install geothermal receivers than in overground construction. Aesthetic considerations also play an important role; the principle of buried construction sometimes makes it possible to create structures of amazing beauty. Architects achieve impressive results by competently using the terrain features.
The dugout is a traditional home for many peoples of the world. Houses partially buried in the ground were characteristic not only of our direct ancestors: the ancient Slavs and Finno-Ugric tribes. Similar houses were built in the Balkans, Scandinavia, and the British Isles. Celts, Baltic tribes, peoples of Siberia and North American Indians lived in dugouts. Over time, life changed, houses were built on a high plinth. But the practical and cheap type of dwelling was quite widely known until recently even in prosperous Europe. For example, the heroes of one of the fairy tales of the Nobel laureate, the Swedish writer Sigrid Undset, live in a dugout. Not rich, but with a certain income: they drink coffee and wine, eat with pies and chocolate. The dugout was well known to Swedish kids at the turn of the century. In Scandinavia and Finland, in-depth dugout saunas are very popular, this is considered a special chic. In some areas of Romania, there are villages that are completely buried in the ground. Even Orthodox churches are half-buried. The walls of such houses are log houses, the buildings are hundreds of years old. It is worth noting the comfortable microclimate of a traditional Romanian buried hut.
The current generation knows about dugouts from movies about partisans. Undoubtedly, semi-diggers with a wooden roll were widely and successfully used during the First World War, the Great Patriotic War, and some time after. The structures were temporary, there was no way to take care of comfort at that time. Today, we have access to the whole range of the latest building technologies: modern foundations, wall materials, reliable waterproofing. In a properly designed and built dugout of the third millennium, it is warm in winter, cool in summer, humidity is always normal and clean.
The pioneers in the re-development of the buried house are residents of Europe and North America. The local dugouts are of various types, ranging from cheap “hobbit houses” built from scrap materials to expensive and comfortable villas. But all these houses, regardless of cost, are united by respect for the environment and the landscape, the use of energy-saving technologies. The soil used to fill the roof is a fairly effective insulation, buildings do not take an inch of land from nature, because meadow grasses and flowers grow on the roof. The construction of semi-recessed houses is gaining popularity, counting in thousands. Let’s look at some interesting examples.
Edgeland Residence, United States
Bercy Chen Studio argues that the Colorado Riverfront villa is a modern interpretation of a traditional Great Plains Indian winter earthen home. True, it is not known whether the inhabitants of the reservations agree with this statement. The plot of land on which the villa was built was previously an industrial dump and was considered unsuitable for housing. After cleaning up industrial waste, the new owners firmly decided that their home and land would be an example of an ecological and respectful attitude to nature. The architects have found a solution in which the building fits perfectly into the newly recreated natural landscape.
The residence has an earthen roof and looks like a grassy hill in the middle of a natural park. Until the visitor enters the patio, which cuts the residential complex in two like a gorge. Only then do the huge stained glass windows and the blue water of the pool appear..
An open seating area is located between two pavilions: a day room, which includes a kitchen, a dining room and a living room, and a bedroom. Glass walls generously fill the modern minimalist interior with sunlight, create the unity of the interior space with the surrounding nature.
The turf layer covering the roof serves as a good heat insulator, improves the indoor climate. Technical solutions correspond to modern ideas about ecological housing: low-temperature water floor heating, built on the basis of a heat pump, a rainwater collection system, a filtration field for cleaning domestic waste.
House-burrow in the Swiss Alps
A cozy mink was built by the Dutch studio SeArch and Christian Muller Architects in the foothills of the Swiss Alps. Situated on a southern slope, the underground home is well lit through the stained glass patio. Due to its underground location, the country house-hole is perfectly insulated. In summer it is cool, in winter, on the contrary, it is warm. The ultra-modern architecture of the villa is strikingly different from the buildings of the old village of Vals, where traditional chalets prevail, but the underground structure does not violate the integrity of the landscape. The house becomes noticeable only in the evening, when large stained glass windows are filled with inner light..
Only natural materials are used in the decoration and improvement – stone and wood.
Gary Neville’s Underground House
The legendary footballer, captain of Manchester United Gary Neville has moved underground. The 750-square-meter home is nestled on the side of the Pennine Mountains in Bolton, Lancashire. The building is almost completely embedded in the ground, has the configuration of a six-petaled flower, which, however, is visible only to birds. The sunken courtyards are spacious enough and the underground house, oddly enough, is filled with sunlight. Outside, it is impossible to guess the presence of a large villa, the meadow landscape is disturbed only by a wind generator located at a distance. Architectural studio Make worked on the project with the active participation of Neville himself.
An earthen roof, coupled with recessed walls, provides a comfortable microclimate, an even temperature and constant humidity during any season. Autonomous heating and hot water supply is built on the basis of a heat pump that uses natural geothermal energy. Electricity is generated by a wind turbine and photovoltaic panels.
Earth House 1, Switzerland
In the suburbs of Zurich, the Swiss architectural bureau Vetsch Architektur has implemented the project of the ecological hotel Earth House 1. Dugout No. 1 is completely built into the hill. Outside, visitors only have a lobby, a restaurant and a garage entrance. It is impossible to guess that a spacious hotel is hidden inside. The rooms are oriented towards the inside of the hill, forming a courtyard enclosed on three sides around a small lake, in which colored carps splash. The courtyard offers views of the Alpine mountain landscape. Bathrooms, lobby and stairs to the underground floor are illuminated through skylights located in the grass roof.
The building was built in accordance with the so-called bionic principles of architecture, not offending straight lines of the pristine curvature of natural curves. The grass roof is a walking area with paths, benches and alpine-style flower beds.
For studio head Peter Wetsch, this hotel is not the first of its kind. During the construction process, proven technical solutions were used. The walls and roof of the building are a single reinforced concrete monolithic structure. Recycled foamed glass is used as insulation – a material that is durable, lightweight and efficient. The structures are protected from moisture by reliable waterproofing made of bitumen-based materials. The building is covered with a layer of vegetative soil, poured over geotextiles that protect the drainage layer.
Dugout in Wales for £ 3333
This is the amount that Simon Dale cost to build a comfortable dugout. Having studied the cost of housing and credit conditions, the Briton decided to do it on his own. To minimize the cost, he used what was lying underfoot and in the nearby bushes as building materials. The stones collected at the site went to the foundation. The frame of the house was assembled from untreated tree trunks, cut down during the clearing of the site. The walls are made of clay-straw blocks, plastered with clay and insulated from water penetration by it. The floor and roof are also insulated with straw. Waterproofing, drainage, filter cloth and soil layer reliably protect the roof from moisture and cold. The external backfill from the side of the hill is made with soil taken out of the pit.
The house turned out to be fabulous, in the spirit of the heroes of the immortal works of Professor John Tolkien. Thanks to the use of untreated crooked tree trunks, the structure fits organically into the landscape. The building seems to have grown out of a hill and looks more like a mushroom than a traditional English house. Inside the same fabulous and wonderful interior, sunlight penetrates not only through the windows, but magically flows from a glass lantern located at the top of the roof.
Dale hired several friends and family to build the house, and it took four months from start to finish. The Welshman and his assistants had no previous design and construction experience. However, the house came out solid, spacious, warm, light and dry. It is heated by a fireplace, while it is lit with candles. Simon does not plan to connect central communications and is exploring the possibility of using alternative energy sources.
A fox hole made of bags of soil
On the open spaces of the Runet, there is a lot of talk about the benefits and cheapness of this type of structure, like “fox hole”. There is no unity in what exactly this term should mean. But the adherents of the eco-dwelling agree on one thing: the “fox hole” is an inexpensive structure, heaped up with soil dug out of the pit. This type of building is not very attractive for villagers, urban residents are more keen on the ideas of eco-settlements. In fact, the traditional earthen cellar was built according to these principles. In the villages, you can still find successfully functioning multi-level spacious earth storages built in the 19th century. There was no reinforced concrete or roofing material at that time. We did it with wood and clay as waterproofing.
Alas, there are practically no completely successful domestic implementations of the “fox hole” concept. Unfortunately, mistakes in design and construction do not allow us to call our “minks” comfortable or durable. Still, the long years of Soviet industrial construction were not in vain, so far we are better at panel houses. However, this does not mean at all that a buried dwelling has no prospects in its native spaces. Rather, on the contrary, only this case requires a systematic and technically competent approach. And let the West, not us, set the tone. There is someone to learn from.
For example, wealthy but thrifty Americans with might and main successfully build small houses and outbuildings, similar to the “fox’s hole” from geotextile bags filled with soil. Geotextiles are inexpensive, wall building material literally rolls underfoot, the structures are dry and clean. By the way, the walls of the magnificent still living Priory Palace, built in 1799 by order of Paul I in Gatchina, with the exception of the tower with a spire, were built of ordinary soil, compacted and mixed with lime, plastered with a clay composition. Whether to take advantage of the experience of ancestors?