Beautiful Buildings Below Ground, curated by Yellowtrace

 

Sunken buildings sitting below the ground are a scary thought. Dark, hidden hovels that cause claustrophobia and fear of your surroundings collapsing in on you while you sleep. Ok, that is being slightly melodramatic, but you have to admit the thought of such spaces is not particularly appealing as a place to live. But yes – you guessed it – today’s story is here to prove the theory wrong.

There are plenty of examples of spacious, light, and architecturally sound buildings that sit below the ground level. Be it for the environmental, space-saving or aesthetic reasons, architects are designing homes, hotels and offices that are at odds with our initial thoughts about below-ground-level spaces. What ties all these dwellings together is some seriously creative architecture; when there is a hill to dig into, rocks to manoeuvre around or lumpy terrain to negotiate with, one must pull out all tricks when building down into the ground.

Here is a selection of some of our favourite examples of Beautiful Buildings Below The Ground.


 

CAEACLAVELES RESIDENCE + HOTEL IN ASTURIAS, SPAIN BY LONGO + ROLAN ARQUITECTOS (2012).

CAEaCLAVELES Residence and Hotel by longo+roldán Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

CAEaCLAVELES Residence and Hotel by longo+roldán Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

CAEaCLAVELES Residence and Hotel by longo+roldán Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

CAEaCLAVELES Residence and Hotel by longo+roldán Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

CAEaCLAVELES Residence and Hotel by longo+roldán Arquitectos | Yellowtrace

 

CAEaCLAVELES is a residential and hotel project, developed as a way to preserve the permanence of landscape features on which to act through a symbiotic architecture with the environment. The structure is closely linked to the features of the area – a privileged natural environment, a protected landscape of the East Coast of the Sierra del Cuera with mild slopes. The building also aims to provide travellers with an alternative tourism that promotes understanding of the natural environment and its conservation.

By adapting the design to the landscape, fitting in with the hills curves, the building has minimal impact on the environment. The result is an organic structure similar to hills that surround it; the sense of landscape flowing through the interior is created.

[Images via Arch Daily.]


VILLA VALS IN VALS, SWITZERLAND BY SeARCH & CMA (2009).

Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA  Architects | Yellowtrace

Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA  Architects | Yellowtrace

Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA  Architects | Yellowtrace

Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA  Architects | Yellowtrace

Villa Vals by SeARCH & CMA  Architects | Yellowtrace

 

This home, next door to the famous thermal baths of Vals, is completely hidden within the steep incline as a way to ensure the Baths’ expansive views were not compromised. It is also, however, a light filled space thanks to a central patio that creates a large façade and room for many windows. Being slighting inclined, the angle from the buliding means the views of the opposite mountains are especially dramatic. The plans were looked upon by local authorities as an example of pragmatic unobtrusive development in a sensitive location – very true.

[Images via HomeDSGN.]


UNDERGROUND GARAGE IN GENOA, ITALY BY CARLO BAGLIANI (2013).

Underground Garage by Carlo Bagliani | Yellowtrace

Underground Garage by Carlo Bagliani | Yellowtrace

Underground Garage by Carlo Bagliani | Yellowtrace

Underground Garage by Carlo Bagliani | Yellowtrace

 

This sunken space was initially built as an underground garage, though its future was always preempted; almost immediately it became a space for art. In 2013 the whole space was again re-purposed and redesigned by Carlo Bagliani (with Stefano Mattioni and Pamela Cassisa) as an architecture office.

[Images via designboom.]


HOUSE IN SAIJO, JAPAN BY SUPPOSE DESIGN OFFICE (2007).

House in Saijo by Suppose Design Office | Yellowtrace

House in Saijo by Suppose Design Office | Yellowtrace

House in Saijo by Suppose Design Office | Yellowtrace

House in Saijo by Suppose Design Office | Yellowtrace

House in Saijo by Suppose Design Office | Yellowtrace

 

House in Saijo, a family home, is designed for privacy. Building below ground level ensures separation from neighbours, the excavated soil used to create the hill. The upper floors – above ground level – are hidden within a pyramid shaped roof, where a feature skylight allows light to flow through the entire space. Surpisingly from the exterior view, it is a bright home with an open feel.

[Images via Arch Daily.]


SILICON HOUSE IN MADRID, SPAIN BY SELGAS CANO ARCHITECTS (2006).

Silicon House by Selgas Cano | Yellowtrace

Silicon House by Selgas Cano | Yellowtrace

Silicon House by Selgas Cano | Yellowtrace

Silicon House by Selgas Cano | Yellowtrace

Silicon House by Selgas Cano | Yellowtrace

Silicon House by Selgas Cano | Yellowtrace

 

Silicon House is built on a plot of land with a gentle slope covered by Evergreen Oak, Elm, Ash, Acacia, Prunus and Plane Trees, which are an important part of the design process. Each tree and their canopy perimeters were measured as a way for the house to make use of the ‘gap’ that nature has left. The building is designed to fit in, creating an architecturally quirky space where the exterior was the focus – both structurally and in terms of the environment. Set beneath two platforms, the building encourages us to lift our gaze toward to sky and to the base of the natural environment.

[Images via HomeLife.]


SELGAS CANO OFFICE IN MADRID, SPAIN BY SALGAS CANO ARCHITECTS (2007).

Selgas Cano Offices By Selgas Cano Architects | Yellowtrace

Selgas Cano Offices By Selgas Cano Architects | Yellowtrace

Selgas Cano Offices By Selgas Cano Architects | Yellowtrace

Selgas Cano Offices By Selgas Cano Architects | Yellowtrace

Selgas Cano Offices By Selgas Cano Architects | Yellowtrace

Selgas Cano Offices By Selgas Cano Architects | Yellowtrace

 

Selagancano Office was designed simply to work under the trees. Thus, they created a roof as transparent as possible, leaving part of it covered to keep the desk area free from direct sunlight. Half burying the whole building provides horizontal views of the allotment where the arm is installed, and everything below ground level is made in concrete with wood formwork.

[Images via Archilovers.]


THE PIERRE IN SAN JUAN ISLAND, WASHINGTON BY OLSON KUNDIG ARCHITECTS (2010).

Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects | Yellowtrace

Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects | Yellowtrace

Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects | Yellowtrace

Pierre by Olson Kundig Architects | Yellowtrace

 

The Pierre is inspired by the owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property. Conceived as a retreat nestled into the rock, the Pierre (the French word for stone) celebrates the materiality of the site. “Putting the house in the rock follows a tradition of building on the least productive part of a site, leaving the best parts free for cultivation,” Kundig says. From certain angles, the house almost disappears into nature. Throughout the house, the rock protrudes into the space and interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone. As a reminder of the building process, excavated rock was reused as crushed aggregate in the on all the stonework and huge pieces of rock were used for the carport structure.

[Images via Arch Daily.]


EDGELAND HOUSE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS BY BERCY CHEN STUDIO (2012).

Edgeland House by Bercy Chen Studio | Yellowtrace

Edgeland House by Bercy Chen Studio | Yellowtrace

Edgeland House by Bercy Chen Studio | Yellowtrace

Edgeland House by Bercy Chen Studio | Yellowtrace

 

Edgeland House is commissioned by a science fiction writer enthralled with 21st century human habitation in the urban frontiers of abandoned industrial zones. It is designed with the specificity of the place at the centre – a rebuttal to the ‘increasingly generic and de-natured world.’ The house is designed entirely with its environment in mind – the climate of central texas in particular; the the two new green roofed wings sheltering each other from the sun is an attempt to heal the land from its previous ‘scar’ where an old pipe was, by restoring the slope and bring wildlife back. The building uses earth to regulate temperature and the linear courtyard to allow flow of fresh air between the bluff and river below, and the courtyard becomes a theatre for observing migrating humming birds, monarch butterflies, even ant colonies to heighten awareness of nature in an urban setting.

[Images via Domus.]


 

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