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Category: General underground home info

CASE STUDY : Troglodium

An owner/designer-built home, this beautiful example of cordwood construction brings a more naturalistic approach to construction.

Underground House – Revised project specifications for the Sketch Box

I’m now refining the project specifications to a more realistic space/utilities expectation for a limited budget.

1. Square footage – Minimum of 1500 sqft, desire 1700-2000
2. Amenities/Utilities – AC/heating, fridge, stove/oven combo, washer/dryer
3. Ventilation – Natural with possible earth tubes integration, with forced ventilation backups
4. waterproofing – several layers, with at least 4-5 seamless/fused layers
5. insulation – 3-5″, sandwiched between waterproofing layers then buried
6. Flooring – stained concrete with faux effects, carpet in bedrooms only.
7. type – modern concrete , earthen-roof, above-grade with man-made berming/cover.
8. exterior cladding (for exposed surfaces)- weatherized  concete, natural stone architectural work (think large, flat stone facades).
9. utilities – run through ceiling, with noise abatement measures taken
10. rooms – large central living/entertainment/dining room combination, adjoining kitchen, adjoining washroom and bathrooms,2 isolated and fully-earth-sheltered bedrooms, isolated office with window view.  The garage might just be a simple external covered garage.

LINK : Recommended reading, ‘Earth sheltered housing design’ (External Link)

LINK : Helpful underground building links (External Link)

6 types of underground homes

There are a number of different routes a potential underground home builder can take. In the underground spectrum, there are several different types seen in the majority of the house examples.  These range from simple man-made or natural caves with a front facade, to fully underground concrete labrynths. If there’s one thing to say about underground homes, it’s that they are rarely alike – and traditionally untraditional.


1. Relatively normal front-facing, embedded in hillside
2. Earthen roof, but with openings on either side (a land bridge).
3. Earthen roof, with light embankments but most sides exposed
4. Cordwood with Earthen Roof
5. Completely Embedded, with minimal surface access and skylights/ventilation shafts
6. Completely Embedded, but with either center or side atrium or open fully to sky

This seems to cover the majority of the underground home examples I’ve seen during the design process. There are, however, quite a few freak exceptions simply due to the creative nature of such a practical but unconventional design style in america. Many of the underground homes, whether shaped like large shells or clams, or in the form of an earthship, have an immense artistic presence while serving as eco-friendly housing.