During the last years, natural dwellings have made a come-back among humans. Stemming from an ancient tradition, for example in China a great number of below ground habitats evolved in the last four millennia, modern inspirations of those traditions are slowly making its way into modern society. Even, in certain areas of northern China cave dwellings are still common serving as the homes for more than 40 million people.
The cave house by Hypersity architects
The cave house in the Shanxi region of China, by the Chinese studio hypersity architects is a renovation of a traditional cave dwelling. Given the traditional cave has the advantage of warmness in winter and coolness in summer, the design strategy follows tectonic of vernacular cave dwellings, but ensures that that each room is well ventilated and lighted.
The preserved main cave is made of rammed earth and divided into two separated functions, the inner space as bedroom, while the outer space as living room for family gathering. Taking into consideration the sunlight and ventilation in the cave, a circular glass light well sized in 1.5-meter diameter is devised in the middle of the cave. The main entrance of main cave is transformed into a wooden grid façade and glass curtain wall, which introduces plenty of sunshine. In front of the cave entrance is a new semi curved canopy, which prevents the strong wind from the northwestern Mongolia.
The design strategy is to preserve the northern cave houses, and to transform the run-down southwest wing caves into couple of independent spaces oriented to the south, which contain a kitchen, bedrooms, storage room, a dining room and a toilet.