Fascinating Underground Home Designs

For some, underground home designs allow them live in harmony with their surroundings and to more easily acknowledge the beauty in nature.

“The idea of putting a square home under the earth made no sense,” William Lishman recalls on williamlishman.com. “Caves are not boxes, and the box is not a shape that lends itself to the immense load of earth above.” As shown in this construction photograph, the only flat surfaces in his house are in two entrance foyers. Originally built as solariums, this underground home design eventually converted them to more energy-efficient wood-frame rooms.
Photo courtesy William Lishman
Door panels and floors are among the few flat surfaces in William Lishman’s underground home design. The door frame conforms to the curvy contours of the walls, but hexagonal bathroom tiles introduce linear accents.
Photo courtesy William Lishman
Down a short flight of stairs, the entrances to the two dune houses face each other across an outdoor foyer. The mirror-image apartments are covered with at least 22 inches of sandy soil.
Photo courtesy William Morgan Architects/CPS Larry Amato
Artistic lighting and a 17 1/2 foot-high ceiling supplement the contrasts of color, texture, shape, and floor levels to create an interior that is both spacious and cozy.
Photo courtesy William Morgan Architects/Alex Georges
Generous patios, which are half-covered under the grassy roof of the Hilltop House’s main floor, take advantage of Gainesville’s warm, rainy climate. The front doors are recessed under the observatory room’s roof overhang, and an unroofed corridor between the house and its two-car garage creates a conventional entrance to an unconventional dwelling.
Photo courtesy William Morgan Architects
Rectangular patios grace three sides of the Hilltop House. On the fourth side, two elongated portals serve as the entrance and exit for the garage. A narrow, vertical slice in the upper level of the hill separates the garage from the house.
Photo courtesy William Morgan Architects/CPS Larry Amato
With "Underground Homes," Loretta Hall sheds light on the fascinating world of underground home designs, subterranean dwellings and the benefits of living closer to nature.
Cover courtesy Quill Driver Books

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