Living Under Ground



Modern integrated air conditioning, LED lighting and flat computer/TV screens allows comfortable and relatively inexpensive living under ground. In some places, such arrangement could be preferable, because of weather conditions or terrain.

To avoid underground waters, an underground building should be embedded in a hill (or in a side of a mountain). It does not need windows: large computer screens and sound equipment are able to provide all needed variety and destruction.

Such building could be broad, long and irregular - an underground settlement with pathways for internal movement, vertical and horizontal. Its layout should be designed around natural internal formations of the hill, where it is embedded. These formations should be reinforced and used as vertical support structures.

One should expect broad use of arches and related high ceilings in such underground building.

The layer between the building and the hill, where it is embedded, should be a special “skin”, separating it from the rock and dirt of the underground. This “skin” should be divided into technical rooms used for “skin’s” monitoring and repair.

Rock and dirt removed during construction should be used to adjust hill’s external features. Terraces should be formed and trees should be planted there to strengthen the sides on the hill.   

Rain waters and dirt, which they carry, should be channeled downhill, away from the building, and for that purpose, special cemented channels have to be made on the surface of the hill.

Access points of the building (doors and gates), should be made on a few different levels to match features of the ground. Some such features could be manmade, as roads, staircases, or terraces. This way, previously not usable or even inaccessible places on the hill could become useful.

The building walls and especially its “skin” should be impermeable to occasional flow of underground waters. Hence, hydraulic cement and related reinforced concrete should be main materials in its construction.

Without windows and without air exchange through building’s walls, the building has to completely rely on integrated ventilation and air-conditioning system. This is similar to tall buildings in large cities.

Most likely, such building needs to be excavated in the area with no access to sufficient amount of fresh water. Hence, fresh water needs to be produced, and stored. It could be pumped from some place and purified, or sea water could be desalinated. Produced fresh water is better to be stored inside such building: the building should have a system of water tanks in it, made of water proofed reinforced concrete. This system of tanks could be made to improve building’s stability and to stabilize temperature in the building. Desalination plant could be embedded in the same hill and it could use solar energy to reduce cost of fresh water production. In a place with frequent bad weather – too hot or too cold, temperature stabilization property of this water management system could reduce cost of building’s maintenance.

Such building is built in a sequence of steps.

First, the hill chosen for the building is excavated and excavated cavities are reinforced. This is done layer-by-layer from top to bottom. Shape of cavities should be dictated by the conditions in the excavated hill and their intended use on the next steps of construction.

On the next step, cavities are divided-up into “rooms” horizontally, but some might need also vertical division.

Next, staircases, pipes and cables (water, electricity, gas, sewer, communication, etc.) are placed, etc. This is done from bottom up.

When a few building of this type have to be made, they have to be connected with tunnels, in which should be placed roads and various pipes and cables. This network of tunnels should be done with a system of Hubs: it should be at least one path through tunnels between any two such Hubs, and every building should have access through a tunnel to at least one such Hub.

With the system of Hubs and tunnels additional improvements could be implemented (see “City-Park” article on the same site):

·        integrated fresh water management;

·        integrated observation system;

·        clean sewer”, to water trees on terraces.

Such underground buildings could be useful in conjunction with mining.

Another example is associated with fishing. There are cases, where highly productive fishing areas in high seas are close to places on the shore, where people are not comfortable to settle. In such a case, a port and underground buildings could make a settlement possible.

Alexander Liss 1/12/2020