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CASE STUDY : Buckner House

An opulently furnished, almost surreal underground house in North Central Texas. This home blends retro with sci-fi with a classy timeless feel.

NOTE – as of writing, this earth sheltered house is for sale!

Stone Wing underground home design concept updated

My underground home design concept “Stone Wing” has been evolving. As you may have seen from previous posts, I converted the design from Google SketchUp to a game map using the video game “Half Life 2” from Valve game studios. The reason for this is simple – You really need to experience a design in a more realistic environment than some CAD and 3D systems can provide. While the game may be aging in terms of modern video games, it provides a great 3D arena for walking around at eye-level and interacting with the environment.

The design is being thoroughly tested and revised for human traffic patterns, ease of access, and clear pathways. The hexagonal window piece has been removed, admittedly, along with a few mostly aesthetic features. The result is a relatively open floorplan designed with accessibility and acoustics in mind. Some sources note that while environmental noise is dampened, sources of noise inside the house may become more bothersome by comparison, so the bedroom and a few other elements have been re-designed to match. The entertainment room is now clearly set up, with a modified traditional cooking stove set up for cooking and heating in the corner.



VIDEO : the author’s project – an evolved 3D rendering walkthrough tour of the stone wing earth-sheltered home design

CASE STUDY : Mole Manor

This underground home in england takes the cake as one of the most luxurious and ground-breaking underground homes. And, one of the best names for an earth-sheltered home to date.

Atomitat : a demonstration of underground home tech for the cold war

Image of Atomitat underground home

While it may have been several decades of strife that brought us to the brink of nuclear war, it cannot be denied that the  1950s and 1960s ushered in a whole new way of looking at underground living. From simple fallout shelters in rural backyards, to complex labrinths designed to shelter hundreds if not thousands of occupants – many underground home types we know and love today evolved from the fears of the day.
Then comes “Atomitat”.
Atomitat, by earth-sheltered home designer Jay Swayze, is a whimsical relic of the old soviet days.  A truly underground home (13 feet!) designed for a sense of surface life – just in case the surface itself was uninhabitable!

New Naturalistic Project View

To keep the inspiration alive in the underground home plan, I whipped up a naturalistic rendering for my underground home concept code-named “Stone Wing”. Set against a hilly area in a meadow of bluebonnets, this view shows the increasing landscaping. Picture blocks of radient texas limestone coupled with the immense earth-sheltered strength of earth and concrete. With wildfires an increasing threat in texas, it’s also a formidable shelter in tough times (although with a wood exterior structure, it might not be without its casualties).

Stone Wing - Meadow Rendering

The Stone Wing underground home concept – Naturalized Landscape rendering for the Texas Hill Country

PAHS roof layering for Stone Wing V5 revealed

In order to efficiently use the energy available from the earth’s mass and the sun’s influence, my future earth-sheltered home will feature a very intentionally designed layered roof. These layers will form the PAHS umbrella, in addition to a large concrete thermal mass being used as a separator. PAHS umbrella layers not pictured, but the image above is the general form of the roof to come.


1. neoprene layer for waterproofing

2.second layer of waterproofing/insulation TBD

3. wick or other drainage layer – possibly gravel restrained by a mesh or a dedicated drainage material

Note – this is an experimental roof design subject to revision, and has not been tested or evaluated by a qualified professional.

CASE STUDY : The Pinnacle House

This exquisite, sprawling underground home by Don Metz (among the legends of earth-sheltered home building) is not only a beautiful home to live in, at the time of writing it’s actually on the market.

Final Project Design Chosen!

After nearly a year of exploring the underground home concept in depth, I’ve finally “homed” ( har har ) in on my ideal earth-sheltered home design. I’ve selected “Stone Wing V5” as my final design to move forward with. With a simple blend of eco-living and PAHS thinking, this home concept might actually stand the test of even the most indecisive time. Initial specifications and much more to come as the details are hammered out at a hobbyist’s pace. Check out the Current 3d Rendering of the earth-sheltered home!

CASE STUDY : The Ellis Park House

This very angular, ultra-modernist design is part earth-sheltered, and part sustainable living. The Ellis Park House, by Altius Architecture