Shadow of the Oases

In the desert’s embrace, where surface heat reigns, “Shadow of the Oases” finds sanctuary underground. This design for the Home of Shadows competition proposes a strategy to turn the harsh desert environment into a haven of natural illumination. 


Looking toward historical architectural precedent like Petra, the underground cities of Turkey, and the troglodyte homes of Matmata in the Sahara, subterranean living presents sustainable alternatives to address contemporary environmental challenges. 

Intersecting chambers form carved thresholds between each room, creating a seamless internal flow. Light cylinders puncture the surface of the desert and intersect the chambers, guiding sunlight into reflective pools that absorb the intense heat and reflect the light back.  


Carefully positioned roof lights create focused beams for task lighting, while balancing the overheating from the heat. The concentric circular spaces create a distinct architectural language that seamlessly blends aesthetics with structural logic. The domed structures offer structural soundness, distributing weight evenly and withstanding the pressures of the surrounding earth.  

Underground homes naturally insulate, reducing the need for artificial heating and cooling. Harnessing natural light as is the subject of this proposal also reduces the need for a electric consumption 

This design presents an alternative way to coexist underground, echoing the lifestyle of our ancestors. It stands as a testament to the poetic potential of light and shadow, offering a glimpse into a harmonious coexistence with nature in all its ferocity.