Earth Sheltering is the most ecologically sustainable sustainable approach to domestic or small scale architecture.
Baldwin O’Bryan Architects have specialised in the earth sheltered design for many years but we have recently broadened our focus to cover bushfire resistant and storm resistant architecture generally.
The advantages of earth sheltered buildings are numerous. They are significantly more ecologically sustainable due to minimal heating, cooling and maintenance requirements and because they maintain more vegetation as a carbon sink and a habitat for native flora and fauna. They can be more easily designed to provide protection against natural elements such as hail, cyclones, and bush fires and they hey also provide a more efficient use of land in urban settings as well as better acoustic privacy.
Unfortunately, the technique of earth sheltering has been overlooked for some time, mainly because up until now it has been generally more expensive than traditional building techniques and has not always produced good aesthetic outcomes.
We have developed several innovative construction systems which are cost competitive against conventional building systems and generate visually exciting forms that integrate well into the contours of any site. Many of our recent designs are based around concrete arches which are the most economical and sustainable way to build earth sheltered structures.
It is important to understand that earth sheltered houses, which are sometimes referred to as underground houses, can get just as much light and air as conventional houses if they are planned correctly. They can also be constructed on very steep slopes as well as flat ground.
Earth sheltering is a particularly cost effective solution for building bushfire prone areas. In November 2015 Baldwin O’Bryan Architects won the The Bushfire Building Council of Australia’s Innovation Award for the best design concept.
We are passionate about conservation issues and good design. We pride ourselves on innovative solutions which are responsive to aesthetic, environmental, and fiscal constraints and on creating buildings which are exciting and enrich the human experience.