the building centre in london reveals hidden stories of subterranean architecture

the building centre in london reveals hidden stories of subterranean architecture

the built environment trust investigates subterranean architecture at the building centre galleries in central london. welcome to the underworld shows how and why we build underground, sharing stories of epic engineering, playful design and humanity-saving structures. underground construction offers rich opportunities and unique challenges.

the copyright building in london has two and a half basement levels dug close to the water table
image by derwent



the welcome to the underworld exhibition at london based the building centre gives visitors insights into the issues that engineers and architects face today. it shows international examples of some of the most complex underground spaces and showcases ideas for future subterranean worlds. from homes and playgrounds built within caves to approved plans for a futuristic underground park, the exhibition reveals how impressive underground projects are built and offers visions for future underworlds.

the copyright building’s facade takes inspiration from the quarrying of the stone itself
image by derwent



colin tweedy, CEO of the built environment trust said there was much to learn from the exhibition. ‘cities such as helsinki and hong kong are leading the way when it comes to maximizing urban land use by moving infrastructure, and even recreational buildings, below ground. as a city with a severe housing crisis london should be exploring radical ways to free surface land — if it’s not needed above ground, we should build it below.’

the svalbard global seed vault in norway houses the world’s largest collection of crop diversity
image by dyveke sanne

this former slate mine is now an underground adventure playground with zip wires, trampolines and slides 
image by zip world bounce below

itäkeskus swimming hall is part of helsinki’s underground master plan as a response to dense urban structure
image by jussi tiainen

emre arolat architecture’s below ground sancaklar mosque in turkey
image by cemal emden

the lowline in new york uses new optical technology to enable plants and trees to thrive below ground
image by the lowline



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    latest news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,379 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample