Ukrainian architecture studio Sergey Makhno Architects has unveiled its vision for a home built to safeguard against future catastrophes. It is called Underground House Plan B and, as its name suggests, the residence sits 15 meters below the ground.
Inspiration for the concept was born in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has pushed the entire AEC industry to rethink the way the built environment is formed and inhabited. Looking to the future, Sergey Makhno Architects envisioned a home that is well suited to protect and maintain a quality standard of living amidst future unprecedented events.
While a drastic departure from traditional family residences, Underground House Plan B offers a luxurious, comfortable, and more than functional living space.
From the outside, the home has a subtle presence among its rural surroundings. It’s simple, concrete form could make it easily pass as a modern art museum or even a military base. This above-ground portion of Underground House Plan B consists of two intersecting concrete volumes. One of the volumes is shaped like an upside-down cone, with the flat top serving as a helipad. The other volume is rectilinear, forming a curving entrance.
A spiral staircase leads down into the underground portion of the home, which is divided into a series of circular layers. The first layer is located 15 meters beneath the surface and hosts various living spaces designed to comfortably accommodate two or three families.
This includes a spacious lounge, communal dining area, sleeping quarters, kitchen, garden room and gym. Each of these amenities is paired with technological solutions that give the illusion of being outdoors. For example, at the center of the lounge lies a cylindrical light well, which is backlit to appear as though the sun is shining down from outside.
“We were interested in experimenting with the underground space in such a way as to create the illusion of being above the surface as if you could look out the window and see the blue sky,” said the studio in a statement to Dezeen. In this way, the rigidity of living in an enclosed bunker is stripped and some normalcy is preserved.
The entire first layer is surrounded by an evacuation ring that can be accessed from almost every room if there’s ever the need to escape the dwelling. Moving downwards there is a layer with a water treatment system and generator, a layer of electrical equipment and, at the very bottom, a well. Underground House Plan B functions on autonomous systems, which address water supply, sewage and air ventilation. Furthermore, there are separate areas for medical care and stocking medicines.
According to the architects, this project is an investigation of whether architecture can create healthy and functional living spaces in obscure locations. While the thought of living underground is dire, it is worth exploring the reach that architecture can have.
All images via Sergey Makhno Architects