Not all subterranean structures are built alike. While the phrase “underground architecture” conjures images of war bunkers and crypts, some of the public spaces and private homes burrowed in the earth are beautiful examples of modern architecture.
In 2004, freelance writer Loretta Hall rounded up more than 100 stunning examples of below-ground buildings in her book, “Underground Buildings: More than Meets the Eye.“
Let’s take a peek inside.
The Beckham Creek Cave reaches for miles into an Arkansas mountain, but the opening is only large enough for a child. So the cofounder of Celestial Seasonings tea blasted the entrance and created a lodge near the exterior.
A stream of owners invested several million dollars building out Beckham Creek Cave Lodge, which is available for rent. It's outfitted with stone walls and windows.
The US government carved a military defence command center into a Colorado mountain at the peak of the Cold War. The facilities are located so deep underground, workers have to take a bus to get to their offices.
Concealed by 800 tons of concrete, soil, and grass, the private Coleman residence outside Dallas, Texas, gets plenty of natural light from a raised roof skylight.
No need to feel claustrophobic inside Florida's Dune House, where creative lighting, smoothly curved walls, and 17-foot ceilings make it feel spacious and warm.
Guests of the 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa at The Omni Grove Park Inn in North Carolina can enjoy an underwater sound system while they swim in the pool.
The Hilltop House in Florida marries functionality and idealism. Located both below and above ground, it features patios on three sides and sloped walls.
Three-dimensional skylights top the Lucile Halsell Conservatory at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, where visitors can see plants as old as dinosaurs.
Neighbouring the only existing government project ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Marin County Jail in California (built after the architect's death) is considered a testament to his bold style.
While the individual cells inside the jail don't have windows, a glass-walled recreation room and skylights provide ample natural light.
A domed skylight that's 90-foot in diameter has become the hallmark of the Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company's headquarters in Nebraska. It's pretty discreet from above.
But underground, the dome houses a botanical oasis where thousands of employees gather to eat their lunches and relax. Glass walls separate the surrounding rooms.
Nestled in an underground limestone cave, Missouri's Space Center Executive Park offers 30 million square feet of office space. It experienced a partial collapse in 2006.
An underground estate in Nevada offers a cool place to escape the desert heat. There's even a fake boulder hiding an electric barbecue grill.
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