Earth-Sheltered Housing for Our Future Climates
Cleverly woven into the adjacent hillside as if naturally evolved over time, Aloni House seems like an ancient ruin. But that’s not why it earned the Piranesi Award for the Greek Architure firm DecaARCHITECTURE.
This home is not just architecturally interesting, but creates a prototype for design with future climates and resources in mind.
Like any underground house with a green roof, it uses the free heating and cooling energy available from earth – both through the walls and through the roof.
The gradual way that the stone house emerges from between its surrounding hilltops makes it look less like a house that is dug into the ground, and more like a half-buried ruin that has been gradually buried in sand…
…with this earth “dune” appearing to drift naturally into the courtyard.
Inside, there is no lack of light and modernity and space. This is an example of green design that demonstrates that underground houses need not be “hobbit-like” dwellings for hippies.
Underground houses could meet the shelter needs of average people, for a future where climate changes outside will become more extreme and fossil energy supplies more limited.
By not disrupting the habitat around it, it reduces the human impact on sensitive environmental areasÂ – supporting local flora and fauna that we humans have driven to extinction with the clumsy footprint of our urban civilization.
The arid Greek climate where this house is sited is just one type of region that this kind of architecture is suited for. Underground earth-sheltered building is relevant and useful for many conditions, in regions prone to hurricanes, cyclones, or intense heat or intense cold (or daily swings between both).
For climates with heavy rainfall, this green roof is not just better for moderating the climate in the house beneath it, but also better for facilitating natural run-off and flood control.
As our climate extremes become more extreme over the next centuries; it will simply make more and more good sense to utilize earth’s free energy and secure protection in our houses.
No wonder DecaARCHITECTURE won the award for its Aloni House – a shelter that is both forward-thinking – yet also casts a glance backwards through time at the Greek tradition too.
More Green HomeDesignFind from Susan Kraemer