Humanity, as with many species, has a natural desire for proximity. We have a tendency to crowd towards surfaces, to feel the embrace of their security and solidity around us, protecting us from danger and hardship.

‘I wish the ground would swallow me up’ goes the common request for its comforting permanence in times of need. And it’s true, sunken spaces provide intimate stability when feeling alone. Either by ourselves or in a group. Digging living spaces down into the ground is an architectural technique that’s so synonymous with our nature it’s spanned across boundaries and cultures. These six projects, from five separate continents, are selected to illustrate the practice.



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