Forest Hills is a quiet picturesque retreat tucked away amidst dense foliage and trees. The property is perched high on a mountain overlooking miles and miles of forest.
On the North West part of Forest Hills a promontory facing both the sea and the estuary, is the most beautiful site at Tala. 21 centuries ago, Buddhist monks chose to build their homes here by excavating the basalt rock at the foot of the mountain. Perfectly hidden, yet unmistakenly built to to meditate with a scenic view.
Here at the ridge of the mountain top, 8 underground homes will be carved into the mountain, creating underground dwellings, completely opened to the surrounding nature and views. The staircase that gently slopes from the plateau in the direction of the homes beneath is designed as an earth block sculpture. Behind the front door, the vaulted dining room and pantry step down to the bedroom. This overlooks the external lounge and plunge pool, each level being completely opened to the generous window. It frames the dense forest vegetation in the foreground and the distant view beyond. A series of interconnected adjoining rooms and terraces create axial transparency across the plan, in a design that is otherwise defined by massive walls.
The 5 meter high vaulted rooms are built out of earth stabilised blocks sourced from the site itself. This structure is able to withstand the massive loads of the earth above, with minimal means. This reduces the amount of reinforced concrete by 75%, reducing the embodied energy of the structures and therefore making them more environmentally friendly. The underground design keep the spaces naturally comfortable by using geothermal cooling
Tala Cave Homes
Sustainability, Context, Typology
90 sq.m. x 4 + 175 sq.m. x 4
Ground Floor Plan – Type 1
Ground Floor Plan – Type 2
Bedroom under vaulted ceiling
verandah in front of master bedroom