When it comes to cool eco architecture, some people feel like the higher up you build, the better. But don't forget to look down once in a while! There are some astonishing examples of naturally sustainable construction right under your nose - hidden underneath the ground. Come with us as we explore six fascinating examples of buried homes that you may have overlooked the first time around.
Unlike other homes whose goal in life is to stick out like a sore thumb (read: that guy on your block who strings up enough holiday lights to cause a neighborhood blackout), this clever dwelling was made specifically so that it would blend in perfectly with the breathtaking landscape in Vals, Switzerland. Designed by the architects of SeArch and Christian Müller, the home is hidden on all sides save for one and by building the house underground, the architects were able to almost completely eliminate the need for heating or cooling in the winter and summer months.
If new construction isn’t really your thang, how about really, really old construction? We’re not kidding – these 700 year old homes carved from natural rock formations in Iran are inherently low-energy and are available for purchase or rent.
Peeking out from underneath bumpy layers of greenery, this amazing abode looks more like something out of a fairy tale than real life. But don’t take this Swiss estate lightly. Designed by Vetsch Architektur, the structure was built using earth house construction, resulting in an insulating blanket that protects it from rain, low temperatures, wind and natural abrasion.
When you think about “modern living,” “cave-dwelling” isn’t usually the first phrase that springs to mind. But this eye-popping home nestled inside of a 15,000-square foot sandstone cave in Festus, Missouri is the best of both worlds. Built by Curt and Deborah Sleeper, the underground abode features smart examples of energy-efficient architecture like geothermal heating and passive design that keep the interior comfortable while completely eliminating the need for a furnace or air conditioning.
If you’re looking for a truly unique example of subterranean splendor, check out green enthusiast and British football star Gary Neville‘s house-to-be. Hidden under the ground, save for the petal-shaped windows that flood the interior with light, the one-story, nearly 8,000 sq ft structure was designed to keep energy consumption to a minimum. Oh, and did we mention that it looks like a flower?
Whether you’re a Frank Lloyd Wright fan or not, you’ve got to admit that these underground cottages surrounding Fallingwater, the architect’s most famous house, are quite beautiful. Designed by Patkau Architects, the cottages will reside in the hills of the 5,000-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve that surrounds Fallingwater. Sustainably designed, the cottages were recently selected through a design competition held by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which manages the historic estate.