Exploring The World Of Green Roofs And Underground Homes

The strategies architects use to make buildings better interact with its natural surroundings, especially in remote locations surrounded by nature, are diverse and complex. There are two common approaches we can’t get enough of. One is to have the structure buried into the site in which case it would become a sort of underground home. The other is to give the house a green roof.

Underground buildings

The Great Wall of WA

The Great Wall of WA ArchitectureView in gallery

The Great Wall of WA Architecture Top ViewView in gallery

Located in northwest Australia and designed by Luigi Rosseli Architects, this structure is a collection of 12 homes sharing a rammed earth facade and being all semi-buried into the site. This building strategy was used as a way to regulate the temperature and to keep the homes cool.

The Great Wall of WA Architecture HouseView in gallery

The Great Wall of WA Architecture PorchView in gallery

The Great Wall of WA Architecture Front HouseView in gallery

The Great Wall of WA is 230 meters long and follows the line of a sand dune. It is made of iron-rich, sandy clay found on the site which is combined with gravel and pebbles from a nearby river. The interior design was created by Sarah Foletta and uses colors and textures that mimic the surrounding landscape, further emphasizing the connection between the homes and their location.

Casa Jura in France

Casa Jura in FranceView in gallery

Casa Jura in France from JDS ArchitectsView in gallery

Casa Jura in France Closer AngleView in gallery

Casa Jura in France Top ViewView in gallery

Designed as a tranquil retreat in the French countryside, Casa Jura was a project by JDS Architects who envisioned it as a sculptural and sinuous structure that becomes one with the site. The building is almost entirely concealed into a slope, this allowing it to embrace its surroundings to the fullest.

Casa Jura in France LivingView in gallery

Casa Jura in France NightView in gallery

This strategy also allows the house to minimize its impact on the site. The architects had to make three cuts into the site. Two had the role to make room for the full-height glazed facades while the third created a leveled green roof. The full height glass walls open up the house to the views while also bringing natural light in.

Villa Topoject in South Korea

Villa Topoject Green RoofView in gallery

Villa Topoject BackView in gallery

The small valley where this intriguing house is located slopes upward and the architects at AND decided to take advantage of that instead of working around the issue. As a result, this home in South Korea slips under the slope where it forms a series of private spaces.

Modern Architecture Villa TopojectView in gallery

Villa Topoject Angle ViewView in gallery

Villa Topoject Understairs DecorView in gallery

The house was designed for a couple who wanted to enjoy rural life while maintaining their connection to the city. This design allows them to take in the beauty of the surroundings and to stay in contact with the land while also being able to observe nature and to admire the views. A green roof allows the structure to gradually become a part of the site.

Joan Maragall Library in Spain

Joan Maragall Library Green RoofView in gallery

Joan Maragall Library Green Roof designView in gallery

When faced with the challenge of creating a new library building in this area of Barcelona, in Spain, BCQ Arquitectura decided that the best option was to build this new structure below the old garden which existed there. This way the building and the garden would each have their own unique character but would also share something in common.

Joan Maragall Library DesignView in gallery

Joan Maragall Library Trees on RoofView in gallery

The result was a modern library building inserted under the garden of Florida Villa. It has a green roof situated at the same level as the garden. The interior is simple and well-lit thanks to the glass facades facing the street. The walls are covered with clay tiles, a reminder of the semi buried nature of the building.

Biesbosch Museum Island

Biesbosch Museum Island from Studio Marco VermeulenView in gallery

Biesbosch Museum Island from Studio Marco Vermeulen FrontView in gallery

From up in the air, this is a structure that can barely be noticed. That’s because it’s buried into the site. This is the Biesbosch Museum Island in the Netherlands. It was designed by Studio Marco Vermeulen in 2015 as part of a renovation project which took eight months.

Biesbosch Museum Island from Studio Marco Vermeulen BackView in gallery

Biesbosch Museum Island from Studio Marco Vermeulen Grass DuneView in gallery

Biesbosch Museum Island from Studio Marco Vermeulen InteriorView in gallery

The museum was completely transformed and was also extended. Both the old and the new sections of the museum are covered with a green roof of grass and herbs. This gives the museum a sculptural and organic look which makes it a natural part of the landscape.

Hajdo House in Romania

Odorheiul Secuiesc Hajdo HouseView in gallery

The Hajdo House dominates the landscape with its simple and innovative design. It’s located in Odorheiu Secuiesc, in Romania and it was a project by BLIPSZ and Atelier F.K.M. The building embraces the slope on which it stands, seamlessly enveloping itself in the land and becoming a part of it.

Odorheiul Secuiesc Hajdo House ArchitectureView in gallery

Odorheiul Secuiesc Hajdo House NightView in gallery

The House is oriented to the South to take advantage of the views and the conditions on the site. The internal spaces are organized according to criteria such as the topography of the land and optimal orientation. The green roof is angled and forms a usable ramp that reaches ground level at the back.

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust from Belzberg ArchitectsView in gallery

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust from Belzberg Architects FacadeView in gallery

The new Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust or LAMOTH was designed by Belzberg Architects and is located within a public park. The main focus of the design was to integrate the building into the landscape. The chosen strategy was to have it built into the ground and to allow the landscape to continue over the roof.

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust from Belzberg Architects Top RoofView in gallery

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust from Belzberg Architects InteriorView in gallery

Park pathways connect the museum to the park and then morph into the building forming smooth patterns. The combination of concrete and vegetation and the contrast resulted from here was continued throughout and used by the architects to create a distinctive facade.

The Edgeland Residence

Edgeland House from Bercy Chen Studio RoofView in gallery

Edgeland House from Bercy Chen Studio Angle roofView in gallery

Designed by Bercy Chen Studio, the Edgeland Residence sits on a small site on the shores of the Colorado River. Its design is modern and sustainable, inspired by pit houses. It was built into the site and was divided into two separate pavilions with angled green roofs. A pathway cuts through the central living space, making the distinction between these areas more visible.

Edgeland House from Bercy Chen with a small poolView in gallery

Edgeland House from Bercy Chen Studio PorchView in gallery

By organizing the house into two pavilions, the architects managed to separate the public spaces from the private sleeping zone. In order to go from one area to the other one must get out, this being a deliberate detail designed to draw attention to nature.

Sustainable home in California

Sustainable home in CaliforniaView in gallery

The strategically-placed doors and windows are the only elements that allow this contemporary home to peek out from beneath the ground. Architect Mickey Muennig managed to make it perfectly blend into the surroundings by integrating it into the site and giving it a green roof.

Sustainable home in California Green RoofView in gallery

Sustainable home in California InteriorView in gallery

The green roof also has a second role: to insulate the building and to reduce energy consumption. If we add to that the fact that the house uses solar power then it becomes clear that this is indeed one of the most impressive and eco-friendly homes you can dream of.

Green-roofed structures

Prefab modular home

Green-roofed Hobbit home FinishView in gallery

Green-roofed Hobbit homeView in gallery

Green Magic Homes has come up with a solution which allows homeowners to have green-roofed homes without having to deal with water-damage. This is a house which can be built in 3 days. That’s because it’s a prefab home made with vaulted panels that can be easily joined together.

Green-roofed Hobbit home BeforeView in gallery

Green-roofed Hobbit home ProcessView in gallery

Then, when the construction is done, all that’s left to do is to cover the house in a thin layer of soil. This layer has to be thick enough to plant grass, moss or small plants on it. Because the prefab modules the house is made of are reinforced polymer, this allows them to be waterproof as well as durable and lightweight, thus easy to work with.

Casa Magayon in Costa Rica

View in gallery

View in gallery

Completed in 2015, Casa Magayon is a modern 1290 square meter residence in the Papagayo Peninsula, in Costa Rica. It was a project by SARCO Architects and was designed to follow the natural shape of the site and to seamlessly integrated into the surroundings. The exterior of the house features glass surfaces and gray stucco walls. Polished concrete floors connect the interior and exterior spaces.

Casa Magayon in Costa Rica Infinity poolView in gallery

View in gallery

The green roof is a defining feature for the project. It allows the house to blend in, becoming a natural part of the surroundings. When seen from above, the image is harmonious. Moreover, the expansive full height windows and glass walls bring all this beauty inside the residence as well.

Vacation cottage in Iceland

Vacation cottage in Iceland Green RoofView in gallery

Vacation cottage in Iceland Green Roof ViewView in gallery

The beautiful green landscape of Iceland makes this area of the globe a dream location for vacation and holiday homes. This particular house was built as part of a competition in 2012. it was designed by PK Arkitekter who decided to use leftover soil from the excavation on the site to create a shell around the cottage.

Vacation cottage in Iceland Green Roof TopView in gallery

Vacation cottage in IcelandView in gallery

Vacation cottage in Iceland Dining - LivingView in gallery

This natural shell allows the building to disappear into the site. The second great feature which has a similar role is the green roof. These two elements combined help the cottage blend in. the team also added a series of other green features meant to make the structure as pleasant as possible from all perspectives.

Villa K in Germany

werk van Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter; http://www.paulderuitView in gallery

werk van Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter; http://www.paulderuitView in gallery

Villa K is located in Thuringia, Germany and was designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects in 2014. The brief was to come up with a design for a sustainable residence that would discreetly integrate into the natural environment. The architects’ creation is a simple and, at the same time, innovative house built only of glass, steel and concrete.

Villa K Architecture from Paul de Ruiter ArchitectsView in gallery

werk van Architectenbureau Paul de Ruiter; http://www.paulderuitView in gallery

The glass facade demarcates the living areas, opening up these spaces to the views without being interrupted by anything. The social area is surrounded by a U-shaped terrace which intersects with a patio and a swimming pool, both partially indoor. The green roof is the main element that helps the structure connect to the site and the surroundings.

Community Centre in China

Concrete and grass for Chongqing Taoyuanju Community CenteView in gallery

Concrete and grass for Chongqing Taoyuanju Community Cente DesignView in gallery

A green roof is a suitable design feature for private homes, giving them a unique look. However, it is also applicable to other types of projects as well, such as this community centre in China. The project was developed by Vector Architects who wanted to avoid ruining the site and landscape with this massive structure.

Concrete and grass for Chongqing Taoyuanju Community Cente ViewView in gallery

Concrete and grass for Chongqing Taoyuanju Community Cente InsideView in gallery

As a result, the entire building was covered with a green roof. In addition, there are green plants and vine-covered walls throughout the building, their role also being to smooth the transition and the coldness of the concrete. The project used locally-sourced materials and includes a rainwater collection system as well as passive ventilation and permeable pavement.

Casa LLP in Spain

Bioclimatic green-roofed homeView in gallery

Bioclimatic green-roofed home designView in gallery

Large glazed windows offer this house the possibility to capture the expansive views of the Collserola Mountains while the choice of materials throughout let it connect to its immediate surroundings. This is a timer-clad house located near Barcelona which was designed by Alventosa Morell Arquitectes.

Bioclimatic green-roofed home backView in gallery

Bioclimatic green-roofed home livingView in gallery

It cantilevers over the slope and two retaining walls were built on the sloping site to support the wooden portion. The deck patio and balcony extend in the continuation of the living spaces. A ramped observation deck was designed with clerestory windows. This space can be found on the green roof and is the perfect spot to admire the surroundings.

Farming Kindergarten in Vietnam

Farming Kindergarten by Vo Trong Nghia ArchitectsView in gallery

Farming Kindergarten by Vo Trong Nghia Architects Top ViewView in gallery

Because of rapid urbanization, Vietnam is facing a continuously decreasing number of green lands and this raises problems in the case of institutions dedicated to children, such kindergartens for example. The ingenious solution found by Vo Trong Nghia Architects for this problem was to give the Farming Kindergarten a continuous green roof to be used as a large playground for the kids and as an agricultural area.

Farming Kindergarten by Vo Trong Nghia Architects AngleView in gallery

Farming Kindergarten by Vo Trong Nghia Architects Green RoofView in gallery

Farming Kindergarten by Vo Trong Nghia Architects InteriorView in gallery

This green roof encircles three courtyards and allows them to be used as individual playgrounds. An experimental vegetable garden was created at the top, measuring 200 square meters and having an educational purpose.

The House for Trees

House for Trees from Vo Trong Nghia ArchitectsView in gallery

House for Trees from Vo Trong Nghia Architects InteriorView in gallery

The same architects also tried to address that problem though the House for Trees project. The project showcases five concrete boxes resembling giant pots or planters. They function as modern homes and have a thick layer of soil at the top able to accommodate a tree.

House for Trees from Vo Trong Nghia Architects SkyView in gallery

House for Trees from Vo Trong Nghia Architects TreesView in gallery

These structures also function as storm-water basins that reduce the risk of flooding in the city. All five of them are positioned to form a central courtyard with gardens in between and can be found in Tan Binh, a densely populated district in Vietnam. Large glass doors and windows open up to these gardens while the other sides remain closed for increased privacy and security.

Tangga House in Singapore

Tangga house Guz Architects with a green roofView in gallery

Tangga house Guz Architects with a green roof interiorView in gallery

Guz Architects were asked in 2007 to come up with a design for a contemporary architecture house which would be an interpretation of the classic. The structure is organized around a central courtyard and has a double height staircase and entry area at the core of its design. The L-shaped plan reveals a series of open spaces and views of the green zones.

Tangga house Guz Architects with a green roof designView in gallery

The house is covered by roof gardens which allow nature to become a part of every portion of the structure. The roof area creates a series of indoor and outdoor spaces which offer access to the gardens and the pool which wraps around the house.

Viborg Town Hall in Denmark

View in gallery

The new town hall in Viborg, Denmark is located on the outskirts of the city, in a previous military area. Its design was created by Henning Larsen Architects and its construction was completed in 2011. The building has a sculptural look and its white facades stand out from the green park surrounding it.

View in gallery

View in gallery

The green roof covers the entire building allowing it to interact with the landscape. Solar panels were installed on the roof in some areas, adding to its sustainable nature. The contrast between the green roof and the white building is symbolic of the connection between the structure and the site.

Houses with green shells

The Wave House in France

Patrick Nadeau Green-Roofed Wave HomeView in gallery

Patrick Nadeau Green-Roofed Wave Home FrontView in gallery

The Wave House is one of the 63 experimental homes built near Reims, in France. This one was designed by Architect Patrick Nadeau and features a semi cylindrical shell. This shell’s role is to insulate the house. It ends in a rimmed platform and transforms into a large bench.

Patrick Nadeau Green-Roofed Wave Home FacadeView in gallery

Patrick Nadeau Green-Roofed Wave Home SeatingView in gallery

The house is made of timber and has a concrete foundation. The exterior walls are polycarbonate. The shell is similar to a green roof and was designed in collaboration with landscape design firm Ecovegetal. It uses special herbs and grasses that can adapt to harsh climates and which require minimal maintenance.

Jewel Box Villa in Switzerland

Contemporary Jewel Box Villa in SwitzerlandView in gallery

Jewel Box Villa in Switzerland A shapedView in gallery

When designing the Jewel Box Villa, the architects at design paradigms had to comply with the local energy-efficiency standards and requirements. The house is located in Switzerland and meets all the energy and eco-certification standards by using both passive and active energy sources and incorporating a green shell and roof.

Jewel Box Villa in Switzerland Closer LookView in gallery

Jewel Box Villa in Switzerland ArchtiectureView in gallery

Jewel Box Villa in SwitzerlandView in gallery

This shell absorbs most of the heat during the peak hours. The western facade, on the other hand, is transparent and allows the natural light to activate a heat sink wall. This interesting design approach based on contrasts offers the residents privacy while also offering them sufficient light and beautiful views.

Garden Studio in Amsterdam

Garden studio in Amsterdam WatergraafsmeerView in gallery

Garden studio in Amsterdam Watergraafsmeer - grass and mirrorView in gallery

The architects at CC-Studio were faced with a big problem when they started this project in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They were asked to add more space to the existing family home without occupying the garden space. The clients wanted to preserve as much of the green space as possible. The solution found by the team was to rebuild the existing garden sheds and to connect them.

Garden studio in Amsterdam Watergraafsmeer AngleView in gallery

Garden studio in Amsterdam Watergraafsmeer Small DesignView in gallery

Garden studio in Amsterdam Watergraafsmeer MirrorView in gallery

They gave the redesigned structure a mirrored facade and they also decided to make it an actual part of the garden by covering it with sedum. This also allowed them to hide the building’s sharp, box-like design and to also filter the light offering protection from direct sunlight.