Volcano Architecture

Volcanoes may not be the typical views you expect to see out your window, but they are often the cause of some incredible scenery. From stunning rock formations to black sand beaches, volcanoes create beautiful environments that residential and commercial architecture has yet to fully capitalise on.

As the driving force behind some of the world’s most beautiful locations, volcanoes have the potential to be far more valuable as real estate than you might think. With creative design concepts and fantastic architecture, volcanes could well be the beach front properties of the future.

Phoenix House, Hawaii

Phoenix house stands on a lava field on Hawaii’s Big Island, and was designed by Will Beilharz founder of sustainable tourism company ArtisTree. Taking its name from the Phoenix of legend, the 450 square foot home quite literally “rises from the ashes” of volcanic activity in the area.

Phoenix House sits at the base of the world's most active volcano. Image source

"Phoenix House, named after the mythical bird whose story is about rising from the ashes and the cycle of death and rebirth, is a place where people can stir their own next transitions or come to peace with the ones they are currently experiencing." - Will Beilharz.

Named after the Phoenix of legend, the house literally rising from the ashes of the active volcano. Image source

Located in an off-grid community in Kalapana, Phoenix House is situated at the base of a live volcano, Kīlauea, which has been erupting continuously since 1983. In fact, guests choosing to stay at Phoenix House can easily cycle to a nearby molten lava fall 100 feet into the sea. The steam created by the molten rock being quickly cooled is visible form the house itself.

Steam from the lava flow meeting the sea can be seen directly from the house. Image source

The guest house is raised above the uneven surface on short stilts, helping to minimise the impact on plants beginning to seed the area. The building is clad in wood blackened using the ancient Japanese charring technique of Shou Sugi Ban, to blend with the dark surrounding landscape. Recycled, rusted corrugated metal covers the roof to mimic the colour of the hot lava.

It is split into three tiered sections, with large windows providing one of a kind views across the desolate-looking landscape.

"We built this house with deep respect for Mother Earth," said Beilharz. "For that reason, you will find the design minimalist, the development footprint light, and the result is one with its surroundings."

The house has a minimalist design, and works to limit its impact on the surroundings. Image source

House Inside Bubbles of Volcanic Lava, Lanzarote

Like Hawaii, Lanzarote is an island that was created by volcanoes a few million years ago. As such, its terrain remains almost alien, with dramatic peaks, cooled lava formations, and patches of jet-black sand.

Island native and artist, César Manrique, was keen to prevent the build up of ugly concrete developments when Lanzarote first started becoming popular with tourists in the 1960s. As such he pushed for a more organic and ecological approach to architecture, designing a home for himself that would champion this point of view.

Lanzarote was formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Image source

Manrique was inspired by the sight of green foliage poking through the landscape of the island’s lava fields, and discovered five caves to convert into his home. The caves were essentially large bubbles in the lava flow, which he connected to create a two storey home.

The artist championed for organic and environmental design to maintain the island’s beauty. Image source

The upper floor which pays homage to the traditional style of Lanzarote in its one storey, wooden-beamed and white-washed, thick-walled form, but is designed to allow for ample light with huge windows and large open-plan spaces. Stairs built into the volcanic rock connected the upper floors to a futuristic lower level that is contained within five lava bubbles, all connected by a series of narrow passages.

Lower rooms were built into bubbles in the lava flow. Image source

Designed to show the harmony between modern and traditional architecture, César Manrique’s home highlights a beautiful connection between a structure and its organic environment.

Nemrut Volcano Eyes

The Nemrut Volcano Eyes architecture competition is tasking participants with tackling the problem of constructing a functional and aesthetically-pleasing lookout point along the southern edge of the crater.

With the Bitlis Governorship committed to constructing the Nemrut Volcano Lookout Point, all winning designs will be put forward for consideration. Those that present design options as well as practical solutions for construction in such an extreme environment, will sit more favourably in the jury’s eyes.

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