Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Sod Dugout in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska by Randy Brown Architects
March 8th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
In the early 1800’s, Nebraska was all open fields filled with native prairie grass. The first settlers were confronted with the challenge of what materials to build with. These pioneers built dugouts, or homes that were literally dug out of the side of hills. Exterior walls were slabs of sod stacked in a running board pattern.
Some 200 years later, someone stumbles upon a virgin prairie and purchases the property with the intention of building a home. An architect is hired and is confronted with the challenge of what materials to build with. The answer is the same — to build with what is available on site; to create a home that is harmonious with the place. The proposed home has been dug out of the hill. A modern dug-out with real sod exterior walls, using sod cut from the site.
The clients requested a large window to view the prairie and an outdoor courtyard space. The courtyard space has been carved out of the hill, recessed eight feet below grade for privacy and also allowing sunlight to enter the house from the south. A long ramp connects the courtyard with the site. The house has a green roof that blends with the adjacent hillside of prairie grass.
The project uses sustainable materials, geo-thermal to heat and cool the home, natural ventilation, passive solar and green strategies for water and sewer.
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