Split level housing has become a huge fad in the Real Estate world in the U.K. especially in London and now it is spreading to Los Angeles. What is it? You know how Batman has the bat cave underneath Wayne Manor? It’s kind of like that. There is the above ground area of the house which is visible and then there are the below ground levels. 

There are many names and variations on the concept. It is also known as submerged or partially submerged housing, or underground housing. Submerged areas of a home have in the past been typically used as wine cellars and home theaters because these rooms do not require natural light. Now there are are bedrooms, bathrooms, gyms, foyers and pretty much anything you can think of. Architects are finding creative ways to let in natural light, even to areas that are three floors below ground level. This type of housing is most useful when price per square foot is at a premium. You get more bang for your buck. Plus it’s just cool.

There are many advantages to having a partially submerged house. You harness natural geothermic energy inside the house by insulation. The land around the house keeps hot air in when heating and cool air in when cooling. The surrounding land acts as a sun shield and levels out temperatures. This saves money on electricity and is better environmentally.

Developer Quigg is now building homes in Los Angeles, two of which are in Hancock Park, with extra floors of the homes below the ground. The additions work especially well in Historic Preservation Zones where restrictions are limiting on the type of above ground changes that can be made. Los Angeles developers have recently had their hands tied by the height restrictions and neighborhood restrictions which went into place a few months ago. I think we will be seeing this type of construction more and more over the next coming years as it proposes a clever way around the obstacle.

Add your own submerged layer and then you can invite all of your friends over and exclaim “to the bat cave!”