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  • Interest in underground houses peaked in the 1970s as the Arab oil embargo drove energy sky high. Since then, demand has dropped, with only 100 earth-covered houses being built at any time nationwide. You can still make a difference by building gently on the land!

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    Earth Shelter ABCs:
    rchitects, Builders, and Construction Suppliers

    Earthship Biotecture - a global company offering proven, totally sustainable designs, construction drawings & details, products, educational materials, lectures / presentations, consultation & guidance toward getting people in sustainable housing. From single family to colony / community / city complexes.NEW!
    Earthlog Equity Group, L.L.C - Custom home builders, design, sales & real estate development company, offering custom designed earth sheltered, earthlog, log homes and commercial structures.NEW!
    Malcolm Wells - the original underground architect
    Bill Dunster - UK, Zero Emissions Development, award-winning environ-friendly architect.
    Javier Senosiain - mexican architect who uses ferrocement to sculpt houses
    GreenArchitecture.com - Architects specializing in integrated bioclimatic architecture
    Architect in Switzerland - uses variety of construction techniques
    Gale & Snowden Architects - UK, creates ecologically sustainable buildings and landscapes
    Home Sweet Earth Home - builders since 1977
    Terra-Dome Corporation - modular forming system has conventional vertical walls with a dome ceiling.
    Formworks Building, Inc - design and construction of highly efficient and self-sufficient structures.
    Davis Caves Construction - Builders & developers of earth-sheltered homes since 1977
    Earth Sheltered Technology, Inc - builders of earth sheltered architecture
    Performance Building Systems - arch shaped, earth sheltered homes in a kit for the do-it-yourself homebuilder
    SunTerra - energy efficient and earth-bermed homes
    Radius Engineering - self-contained underground fiberglass shelters for
    nuclear, biological and chemical warfare (NBC), tornadoes, terrorism, and natural disasters.
    Architerra - aka TheNaturalHome.com
    AMERDRAIN - prefabricated sheet drain protects earth sheltered homes
    Building Logics, Inc. - Eco-Roof/GreenRoof Systems
    Roofscapes, Inc. - design and install green roofs, bioretention systems and wetlands
    Greenroofs.com - Exploring the ecology of organic greenroof architecture
    Greenroofs.ca - Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, a Toronto-based organization working to build a green roof industry in North America
    Porous Pavers - Invisible Structures - Surfacing and Stormwater Solutions
    GEOBLOCK - Porous Pavement Systems - In use at the White House and Microsoft Headquarters.

    Examples of
    Earth Sheltered Architecture

    Casa de las Mariposas - "House of Butterflies." An Anasazi-style, cast concrete home, carved into the mountainside in Arizona.NEW!
    Gund-Ream Sod-Roofed Ranch House - a case-study of an earth-sheltered home and ranch, six years after it was built in a formerly swampy landscape. NEW!
    Earthhomes.co.uk - freeform earth-sheltered homes, featuring architect Peter Vetsch (who is also featured in the ABC section above, as "Architect in Switzerland")
    Gonzo - Innovative earth-sheltered straw bale house, courtesy of solar783.com
    - example photo at left taken from Mike Reynolds' design, after which the house was modeled
    BIMBLE-GUNYAH - Jerry Van Walsum's colorful "aboriginal" earth shelter design from Australia with courtyard, fountain, and lush surroundings
    Cumbria - an earth-sheltered home built in an old, disused quarry site in the east of Cumbria, UK. Requires no additional heating. Lots of photos and plans.
    Home for Life - Futuristic earth-sheltered design, with womb-like rooms featuring lots of curvilinear wall/ceilings that flow into each other. Almost no straight lines in this plan, creating a light, organic feel. A full size replica Bedroom Suite is on exhibit at Bishops Wood Environmental Education Centre in Worcestershire, UK.
    ManyTracks - author Sue Robishaw, an owner of an earth sheltered home, offers information on homesteading, organic gardening, seed saving, solar energy, and alternative living
    Hill House, designed by the Jersey Devil Design-Build Group to overcome the hurricane-force winds that blow through the area
    Pete and Sal's Terradome house, on HGTV
    Home built of earth - John and Petra's home in Fairfield, Iowa. Features solar panels, earth tube air conditioning, green house, on HGTV
    Bill Gates' Home - (not enviro-friendly, but underground nonetheless - WMM)
    Our Cool House - Phil and Lisa Malone's Earth Sheltered, Passive Solar home uses a variety of energy conservation techniques
    Earthship - recycles trash and combines with earth to minimize environmental impact
    Earthship Landing - an Earthship home near Durango, Colorado
    The Invisible Dome Home - no sunlight here, tsk, tsk - WMM
    Ted's Underground Home - lots of photos of building process
    THE HODGES RESIDENCE - a superinsulated direct gain passive solar home in Ames, Iowa
    Marion Herd's home in Texas
    Peace and Carrots Farm - timber framed home includes solar greenhouse, and composting toilet. Fun site with lots of inside view photos of lifestyle.
    Gund-Ream Sod-Roofed Ranch House/Log Cabin
    Mole Manor - handicapped-accessible, beautiful design features.
    Caer Llan - earth sheltered, passive solar home of the British Earth Sheltering
    Association library, one of the two lowest energy houses in Europe winning a Euro-solar prize in 1995
    The Moscone Center - underground business complex on 22 acres in downtown San Francisco
    Earth Sheltered Designs - 5 examples from the book published by U. of Minn.

    Land & Energy Conservation
    • Rocky Mountain Institute - fosters the efficient and restorative use of resources to create a more secure, prosperous, and life-sustaining world.
    • Earth-House.com - an information resource for everything related to earth sheltered or underground homes
    • GreenHomeBuilding.com - wide range of information related to sustainable architecture and natural building, including photos, examples, and building codes NEW!

    Education & Training

    Related Issues
    If you're interested in earth-sheltered architecture, you may also want to investigate these other concepts. Select a link below for Google search engine results, or look for a book at Amazon:

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