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

By : Aviva Peeters, Isaac A. Meir

This paper explores the origins of subterranean dwellings, their spatial and temporal disper-sion 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 hy-potheses 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 espe-cially in areas of specific geotopographic characteristics. Underground construction is also presented as a reverse of Le Corbusier’s attitude towards creating open spaces and combin-ing built-up and natural environments. KEYWORDS

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