Soddy / Randy Brown Architects

Courtesy of Randy Brown Architects

This proposed sod house designed by Randy Brown Architects responds to the site and the history of Nebraska’s first settlers of European descent. In the early 1800’s, Nebraska was all open fields filled with native prairie grass. The first settlers were confronted with the challenge of what materials to build with. These pioneers built dugouts, or homes that were literally dug out of the side of hills. Exterior walls were slabs of sod stacked in a running board pattern.

Project description and drawings after the break.

Architect: Randy Brown Architects Location: Omaha, Nebraska, USA Project Team: Randy Brown, Neil Legband Photographs: Courtesy of Randy Brown Architects

To create a home that is harmonious Randy Brown Architects propose to build with what is available on site similar to the earlier settlers. The proposed home will be dug out of the hill. A modern dug-out with real sod exterior walls, using sod cut from the site.


The clients requested a large window to view the prairie and an outdoor courtyard space. The courtyard space has been carved out of the hill, recessed eight feet below grade for privacy and also allowing sunlight to enter the house from the south. A long ramp connects the courtyard with the site. The house has a green roof that blends with the adjacent hillside of prairie grass.


The project uses sustainable materials, geo-thermal to heat and cool the home, natural ventilation, passive solar and green strategies for water and sewer.


site plan

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Cite: Christopher Henry. "Soddy / Randy Brown Architects" 05 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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