“Underground House” from SeARCH and CMA Architects – Exterior Design
This truly remarkable Swiss dwelling is both stylish and kind to the natural environment. The extraordinary ‘Underground House’ was designed to be highly energy efficient remaining cool in summer and warm in winter. Addressing current global concerns for the environment, this home is eco-friendly, as it doesn’t draw on excessive or unsustainable fuel resources.
Swiss mountain village underground house
Located in a charmingly traditional Swiss mountain village, this stunning subterranean home coexists quite comfortably amongst the more typical chalet style homes. The house is recessed snuggly into the hillside and nestles unobtrusively in a sheltered ‘dish like’ elliptical basin. Despite its highly original design, the discrete setting of the ‘Underground House’ doesn’t distract from the general picturesque nature of its immediate surroundings.
Stone house oval opening
In many ways the exterior view of this stone house appears timeless, probably because it spans centuries of architectural evolution. Built from traditional materials the uneven rough hewn blocks generate the appearance of an archaeological earthwork. This extends an illusion of something ancient and enduring. Fundamentally gratifying as it satisfies a basic human need to make links to the past. Clearly the ‘Underground House’ appeals to our primal instincts to seek warmth, shelter and security. However, it is also equally effective in pleasing our aesthetic values. Set within the oval opening, the Grand Entrance features a magnificent array of windows.
Terrace area exterior
These appear casually asymmetrical in arrangement. At first glance the seemingly random distribution of fenestration could be considered haphazard. However, the composition has been carefully composed and is deliberate, creating a delicate balance between the window openings and also their relationship with the spaces between, not unlike the composition of a painting by Mondrian. The effect is certainly theatrical and sets a stunning backdrop for entertaining on the terrace area.
Exterior by SeARCH and CMA Architects
The combination of the sloping ellipse and the generous array of windows is arranged to collect and maximize natural light, fresh mountain air and warmth on sunny days. It provides an ideal site for outdoor entertaining. The area is spacious, sheltered and extremely conducive to relaxation. This sublime setting encourages the occupants of the house to sit and absorb the breathtaking Alpine scenery which can be enjoyed through the capacious, ‘frame’ of the main entrance. A second article will focus on the intriguing interior of the ‘Underground House’. The inside views are as fascinating as the exterior and contain highly innovative and exciting design features, these combine an eclectic mix of ancient and modern.
Text by Jaz