Generative Tool: Midjourney 5.1

Year: 2023

First came the womb, then came the cave dwelling, then came the manmade enclosures. Then came destruction and devastation, that left humanity nearly homeless on their home planet.

WombHome is a return to the original home.

It is natural, not artificial.

It is symbiotic, not adversarial.

It is within, not without.

It thrives because of nature, not in spite of it.

It is symbiotic, not parasitic.

WombHome imagines cave dwelling inside the earth instead of as an appendage that only serves humans by destroying the natural environment.

As an antithesis to capitalist, competitive societies, the WombHome is a community of humans and nature, living and thriving together in empathy and compassion. Spatial planning as well as aesthetic is guided by the organic curvaceous forms of the caves, not for single, freestanding houses, disconnected from one another, but a freeflowing neighborhood that houses a community with common green, open and enclosed spaces and shared amenities. Instead of nature bowing to humans, humans adapt to nature and embrace it as it guides our lifestyle. WombHome gives a sense of shared pride and ownership.

In early 2023, southeastern Europe and the Middle East were devastated by a series of earthquakes that turned cities into piles of debris. The cradle-to-grave lifespan of concrete buildings was evident. Our ongoing research into recyclable architecture and construction waste led us to propose an old future in residential architecture: the cave dwelling. Inspired by pre-historic cave dwellings of Cappadocia, the houses of the future burrow into natural terrain and rock interfaces, and sit lightly on the earth by adapting to nature and natural built form.

Instead of artificial construction systems that cannot be recycled, renewed, regenerated, WombHome calls for a minimal-intervention carving out of space within natural structural systems, such as caves, which provide space, shelter and safety, without consuming excess energy, creating harmful emissions or construction waste.

WombHome will be naturally-cooled and ventilated, let in plenty of sunshine, and create semi-open spaces and courtyards for natural vegetation to grow and cohabit with humans. These are low-energy, low- consumption, low-maintenance, low-tech homes.

We believe that from great constraints comes greater creativity. When we were commissioned to design a school on the side of a cliff inside an 800+ year old historic stone fort in India, we decided to build without disrupting the natural environment or altering the existing terrain of sheet rock. The rock became a structural support for the school and shaped the design of the built form. The beauty of the project comes from the site and tight context. During this process, we learned the significance of existing natural context, and how it can add value to architecture. Architects must build with nature, in response to nature, and adapt built spaces to nature, rather than against it or by altering it.

We have been creating and adding to the earth, and generating waste we cannot deal with. The construction industry for centuries has produced enormous amounts of non-recyclable, non-reusable and non-biodegradable construction waste. Conventional construction processes generate energy and massive carbon emissions. In recent times, the quality of construction has deteriorated, resulting in a reduced lifespan of buildings.

We propose a gentle process of inhabitation. Not an occupation and imposition on the earth, but an assimilation and collaboration. In the future, instead of underwater or outer space, it is within the earth that we can seek refuge, safety and home.

The starting point was a sole image of the cave dwellings of Cappadocia. The aim was to imagine a home and community that sits lightly on the site with minimal intervention. The site identified was an imagined cave, the organic form guides spaces within and without. In a generative design and formfinding process, the textual prompts served as mere guides for the shaping of architecture. Imagined spaces were described keeping integral principles intact: sunlight, greenery, minimal clutter, natural aesthetic. It was important to generate interior private and family spaces, and shared communal spaces, complete with humans inhabiting the spaces.