"When we can say honestly and without arrogance that [our works] are as beautiful and appropriate as the humblest work of Nature, then we'll be building--and living--as we should."
The words of architect Malcolm Wells are as striking as his building designs. For that reason, this article will consist largely of quotations in which Wells tells his own story.
"In 1959, at Taliesin West [near Phoenix, Arizona], I stepped out of the hot desert sunlight into this little open-to-the-air theatre, and marveled for a moment or two at Mr. [Frank Lloyd] Wright's genius, his ability to carry a design through into the tiniest of details, before it struck me that I was suddenly cool and comfortable there under a mantle of earth. It took me only five more years to get the message. In 1964, I suddenly had a brilliant and original idea: buildings should be underground!"
Wells says the environmental consciousness of the 1960s led him to the underground solution. He decided that "the goal of a truly appropriate architecture" should be "invisibility."
"The rules of life never change:
1. People can't draw energy directly from sunlight.
2. Plants can.
3. Plants can't live underground.
4. We can.
It's as simple as that."
Following his conversion experience, Wells began promoting underground architecture by writing magazine articles, self-publishing books, and lecturing at architecture schools.