More than a hole in the ground? Fusing object and context in subterranean architecture

Aviva Peeters, Isaac Meir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the origins of subterranean dwellings, their spatial and temporal dispersion and their suitability for different climatic regions. Monitoring results from historical and contemporary structures are presented and analyzed, illustrating their sustainability aspects. However, the scope of this paper is also to reexamine and reassess various architectonic hypotheses and concepts, which seem to be challenged by the essence of subterranean dwellings. Thus, accepted role models of architecture, strongly differentiating between inside and outside, open versus closed space, and man-made space as opposed to the natural one, will be assessed. Similarly, commonly accepted terms such as “space” and “place” will be reassessed within the context of subterranean dwellings. Though this paper is not a polemic for a massive “underground migration”, it evaluates the virtues and advantages of underground construction, in specific cases and places, and especially in areas of specific geotopographic characteristics. Underground construction is also presented as a reverse of Le Corbusier’s attitude towards creating open spaces and combining built-up and natural environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalOpen House International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • Hot-arid climate
  • Subterranean structures
  • Thermal Comfort
  • Solar gain
  • Underground buildings


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