Built with the green hermit in mind, The Underhill House, designed by Materica Studio, is the latest in energy independent, zero impact houses. Essentially a house lowered right into the ground, every square foot taken out of the earth for the house is recompensed with a green roof, garden and growth on perimeter walls. Those craving privacy will appreciate the total lack of windows on the house’s perimeter, made up for with two inner courtyards that allow you to enjoy the sun and outdoors away from neighboring eyes.
But both social anti-social creatures alike will appreciate the structure’s all-around greenification. Designed to be built in pairs, the houses are separated by an ‘energy hill,’ a raised surface covered in photovoltaic panels and microaeolic generators that provide enough power for both houses to be completely energy independent. There’s also a geothermic system buried underneath the floors that allows for the introduction of air and water at a constant, energy-saving 66 degrees, and with the natural insulation of the earth around you, the house easily keeps warm in the winter.
As of now, only a single pair of Underhill Houses have been built in Ferrara, Italy, which lies 75 miles south of Venice. Ferrara is a good choice for testing grounds as the weather is more or less temperate, never rising higher than 85 degrees in the summer or lower than 30 degrees in the winter.