Underground Green House

Malcolm Wells: King of Underground Architecture

I was doing a little reading about Malcolm Wells who is described as being the “father of modern earth-sheltered architecture.” He was a very interesting man. If you aren’t familiar with Mac I think he can sum up his purpose in life best…

“In 1964, after 10 years spent spreading corporate asphalt on America in the name of architecture, I woke up one day to the fact that the earth’s surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants. I’ve been an underground architect ever since.”

Respect. I have so much respect. He dedicated much of his career to educating about the benefits of earth-sheltered architecture. And while this type of green architecture can be seen throughout the world, his ideas are still relatively unknown. Here’s a quick summary of underground housing’s greatest benefits:

  1. Earth-sheltered homes are extremely energy-efficient. With the earth’s stable subsurface temperature, the home will save about 80% in energy costs. And if the home incorporates solar power the energy bill drops even more. (Ummm….no brainer.)
  2. Building underground with reinforced concrete protects the home from wind, fire and earthquakes. (Ok, seems to me that these are three of the biggest fears in home destruction. I’d definitely be alright with not having to worry come tornado season.)
  3. Since an underground home blends with the natural landscape, it greatly minimizes the impact on wildlife. (I feel like saving trees, plants and animals is also a wise idea. Maybe that’s just me, but hopefully I’m not alone on that one.)
  4. They are reminiscent of hobbit houses. Ok ok okay! So maybe I added this one to the list, but c’mon who wouldn’t want to feel like they live in the Shire? I know I’m in. (And there’s my inner dork shining through once more.)


                           “But now another type of building is emerging: one that actually heals the scars of its own construction. It conserves rainwater—and fuel—and it provides a habitat for creatures other than the human one. Maybe it will catch on, maybe it won’t. We’ll see.”    -Malcolm Wells