Under the Outback in Coober Pedy

January 7, 2017

It’s our inaugural First Friday Fun Fact, a new monthly series highlighting the recent, creative, or interesting, goings-on in the worlds of architecture and design. 

Bookstore in Coober Pedy. (Image via Smithsonian Magazine)

In the remote Australian Outback city of Coober Pedy, temperatures can reach a sweltering 116 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, leading residents of the small mining community to look for unique solutions to cool off. Instead of investing in modern air conditioning systems, the town opted to go underground, with many of the businesses and residences built into the desert hillsides. Doing so not only saves on transportation and construction costs (the nearest large city, Adelaide, is 526 miles to the south), it also saves on energy costs. By capitalizing on the ground’s natural insulating properties, the underground portions of the town remain near a constant 75° F. Despite it’s unusual location, the town boasts the normal amenities of a community it’s size, including a book store, bowling alley, and an underground home with it’s own swimming pool.


Coober Pedy and other cities like it across the world highlight the possibility of creative solutions in solving complex problem relating to environment and cost-effectiveness.


Sources: Smithsonian Magazine, Wikipedia.