Antonello Boschi, underground architecture: strategies?

What is the house owned by the family that featured in the Oscar-winning film Parasitethe Antinori d’Archea winery in the Chianti Classico region and the landscapes visited by the protagonist of Jules Verne Journey to the Center of the Earth have in common? These are all examples, real or imagined, of underground spaces.

Man’s relationship to the underground is dichotomous, it oscillates between attraction for “another” world and fear, combined with the physical need for light and air. On the one hand there is the recognition of the basement as a maternal womb that embraces and protects, on the other the shared notion of landscape which supposes a view of the sky.

Oscar Newman, Underground City Beneath Manhattan, Esquire, December 1, 1969. (Courtesy of Esquire)

Antonello Boschi studies the subject in a vast interdisciplinary, historical and theoretical investigation. Reversing the classic dictates of surface construction, he explores possible strategies to transform, extend and change the typical relationship between land mistreatment and unused subsoil. The psychological, philosophical, literary and cinematic heritage of subterranean architecture is mixed with examples of composition and existing constructions to suggest a compelling and functional approach to these spaces.

View from inside the Termite Pavilion by Softroom Architects, London, 2009. (ph. Joseph Burns)

Poetics of underground space.
Architecture, Literature, Cinema
Antonello Boschi
Routledge, 2021
160 pages, £27.99


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Bonny J. Streater