Architecture

Gallery: From buried bunkers to hobbit homes - a look at underground living

Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
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The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
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The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
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The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
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The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
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The Bolton Eco house is buried into the landscape and has six exposed nodes all pointing towards the underground centre of the home
Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
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Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
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Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
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Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
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Edgeland House, modeled on the Native American Pit House, is buried 7 ft below ground level and is divided into two clear halves - sleeping and living sectors
Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
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Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
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Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
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Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
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Called The Great Wall of WA, this giant rammed earth structure houses 12 apartments cleverly embedded into the natural landscape keeping the internal spaces cool in the hot Western Australian environment
From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
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From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
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From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
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From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
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From Aires Mateus Architects this home is simple called ‘House In Leiria’. Almost all of the house is built underground with a doorless, and windowless monolithic impression of a house standing above the ground
Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
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Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
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Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
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Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
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Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
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Completed in 2009 Villa Vals is a remarkable space, completely hidden in the mountainside. Access is only achieved through an underground tunnel from a nearby barn
In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
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In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
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In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
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In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
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In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
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In France sits Casa Jura, a residential home built into the surrounding hill leaving just a couple of small outcrops to allow light in
Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
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Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
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Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
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Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
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Peter Vetsch, a dominant force in earth house architecture, has built over 90 energy saving underground houses, with a strong nod to the organic forms of Gaudi
Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
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Hobbiton in New Zealand is the location of the Hobbit houses built for the Lord of the Rings movies. They aren’t exactly functional houses, with most just acting as facades but they certainly inspired a new generation of underground designers. Today they have been repurposed into sheep abodes (Credit: tara hunt / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)
Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
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Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
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Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
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Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
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Aloni House sits in a natural gully between two sloping hills. Much of the structure nestles under the ground making it nearly impossible to grasp its true scale
Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
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Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
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Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
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Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
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Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
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Biesbosch Museum Island is a spectacular green-covered building that blends an artificial structure with an organic quality. From certain angles you wouldn’t even know there is a building there
This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
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This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
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This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
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This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
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This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
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This refurbished WWII bunker originally was designed for publicity but was so popular it remained open as a rental accommodation. It’s undeniably Spartan, it is a war bunker after all
Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
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Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
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Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
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Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
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Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
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Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
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Called The Earthscraper, this is an upside-down skyscraper proposed for Mexico City. This inverted building was suggested a way to enhance urban density without crowding the city skyline
The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
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The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
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The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
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The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above
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The Lowline in New York City is an ambitious proposal for an underground park. Utilizing an abandoned underground space already present the design creatively uses mirrors to enhance the spread of sunlight from above

Over the last few decades architects and designers have been busy burrowing. Rammed earth structures, reclaimed war bunkers, and homes dug into hills have turned buildings inward instead of upward. Here we present a gallery featuring the most fascinating, weird, and experimental underground designs from recent years.

As well as offering the energy-saving benefits of the surrounding earth acting as insulation, many of these compelling structures seem to disappear into their environments. From the grass-covered pyramids of the Biesbosch Museum Island to the Great Wall of WA in Australia, many of these buildings sit in perfect harmony with their surroundings.

On the other hand some are truly mind-boggling designs that completely stand apart from their environment, whether it's the upside-down Earthscraper, an underground skyscraper proposed for Mexico City, or the gorgeously minimal House In Leiria, a windowless house that disguises a large underground residence.

Take a look through the gallery for a trip through the best of underground architecture.

6 comments
Deres
The inverted building for Mexico is quite a nonsense. First, the city is constructed on a marsh thus there is water a few meter below the ground. Secondly, this is the old city center full of archeological treasures.
Biodomes
One disadvantage of underground buildings is the lack of natural sun light, unless you use earth sheltered biodomes.
J*hn
Sun tubes provide natural light
ljaques
I can't believe how few architects grok the concept of underground homes. What good is it to bury 2 sides when you're exposing the other 50-70% of the house with low-R/high-U glazing or stone walls? // I like the quirky Vals house, with the OMG view! // Most of these don't need solar tubes because they're all glass, fer crikey's sake.
Bkworm
The information about the Hobbiton set from LOTR is out of date as it was re-dressed for the filming of the Hobbit trilogy. After these were completed it was opened as a tourist attraction, with the sheep relegated to distant hills.
Craig Jennings
No mention of "The Hive" at all? :D We started in caves, we just found that they're hard to make so built above ground after moving out. We'll get full circle after WW3 right ;)
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