Building above ground is so 2016.

By Jess McHugh
Courtesy of Laertis Vassiliou
Courtesy of Laertis Vassiliou

Originally published by Travel + Leisure

For some, the idea of living in a home carved into the edge of a cliff is exciting. For others, it’s terrifying. For architect Laertis Vassiliou, it’s an attainable goal.

“People instinctively dislike underground buildings,” Vassiliou told Travel + Leisure, of the challenges of constructing a building inside the earth rather than on its surface. “I was very motivated in order to create something that would be underground, and maybe people would love it.”

Vassiliou, founder of the firm Open Platform for Architecture and his latest collective LAAV, has a vision to design chapels, homes and museums underground or edged into the side of rock faces.

Referred to as the Terra Matter Trilogy, three of his most prominent building designs are called The Plinth, The Holy Cross, and Casa Brutale—a cultural center, a place of worship, and a home, respectively, CNN reported.

The work of the Greek-born, Netherlands-based architect first came to worldwide prominence when a rendering of his proposed home, called “Casa Brutale,” went viral, according to the same report.

Courtesy of Laertis Vassiliou
Courtesy of Laertis Vassiliou

Given his Grecian roots, he designed it to be built on an Aegean island: flooded with light and looking onto an unobstructed view of the sea.

“It’s underground...but it’s not like a closed box inside the ground,” he told T+L.

Vassiliou adapted the project to build it for a client in Lebanon, and workers are expected to break ground March 2017.

While the architect’s designs are in many ways trailblazing, he pointed out that his projects are part of a larger movement to build underground that has seen a resurgence in the past ten years. Even hotel suites are getting in on the trend.

“This trend with the underground buildings is coming back,” he said. “I'm not the first.”