Study the architecture of earth shelter and its role in underground habitat formation (Case Study: Iranian Shavadans)

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Shayan Mahmoudi, Ali Rezvani, Ahmadreza amir



In recent decades, the world's environmental pollution crisis has been broadly raised and led to human society concerns. Architects as an important part of community that are involved in environment must reflect on their constructions and take advantage of new ideas in reducing energy consumption and its pollution, given the continuing decline in non-renewable energies as well as availability of suitable sustainable energy resources (solar, geothermal, wind, etc.). Earth shelter architecture is one aspect of architecture where the thermal mass of earth behind the outer walls is taken into consideration in order to reduce heat loss and maintain the internal temperature within comfort zone of man. Studies on earth shelter construction typology in Iran can be considered as a model for today's innovative designs with an energy saving approach through introducing various Iranian samples of this kind. Erath shelter architecture of world is classified into three categories: Land enclosed with accumulated soil, rock shelter, and underground shelter. Most of these self-support architectures have been formed as they enter into depths of earth including sunken courtyard in warm and arid climates and Shavadan as an underground shelter in warm and humid climates. "Shavadan" is one of the underground spaces with special uses and features in depth of 6 to 12 meters, which has been a suitable shelter for escape from severe climatic bottlenecks since ancient times, and has been common in the cities of Dezful and Shushtar in southwestern Iran until modern times. A Shavadan has been dug in every house. The present study is a descriptive-analytic one and aims at expressing the patterns of Dezful and Shushtar traditional architecture, especially Shavadan (which has an important role in energy saving). The results of this study show that Shavadan has been a successful example of sustainable architectural principles in responding to environmental conditions of region.

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