“Like going to war.” This is how one of the wrestlers in photographer Ken Hermann and art director Gem Fletcher‘s project Bökh, describes Mongolian wrestling. Shot in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, the resulting portraits and short film pay respect to this ancient tradition. It’s a tradition that is still very much alive in the nomadic communities that account for 30% of the country’s population.
If you’ve ever wanted to live inside a home that is blanketed by the earth, look no further than Switzerland-based architect Peter Vetsch’s Earth Houses. Vetsch Architektur, the Zurich-based architectural firm led by Vetsch, has constructed dozens of these energy saving eco-houses all across its native land. They promise a nature-friendly lifestyle in a very organic living space that reminds us of Simon Dale’s hobbit house.
Earth House Estate Lttenstrasse is located in Dietikon, Switzerland. The viridescent mounds of earth have the homes tucked in beneath them, keeping them almost hidden. It’s like stumbling upon a secret underground society that has balanced the best of modern design and energy-efficient living. They appear like cozy huts to live in but are actually quite spacious inside. The estate includes 9 separate homes, featuring three 3 bedroom, a 4 bedroom, a 5 bedroom, three 6 bedroom and a 7 bedroom house. There is even an artificial lake in the center, a subterranean parking lot, and room to grow vegetation on the property.
Being that the homes are protected by a layer of earth, they have natural insulation during the winter that allows them to use only a third of the energy a normal home would consume. The houses also boast cool temperatures during the summer, making air conditioners and other forms of temperature modification devices unnecessary. Vetsch also prides himself on the natural integration of the homes without having to add or remove any extra land or compromise the integrity of the natural landscape. He says that they are “not putting a box on top of nature but making the architecture subordinate to nature, integrated.”