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Cave Dwelling in the 21st Century

Humans have lived and worked out of caves since the beginning of civilization. But we haven’t left them behind: A new development, bored into the side of a Norwegian cliff, shows what’s possible with modern engineering and design. The problem posed to L.E.FT, a New York firm, and STUDIO hp AS, based in Norway, was how to connect the lower and upper portions of Holmestrand, a small village, while creating a new public space. So they proposed an elevator that would become the site’s transportational spine.

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Humans have lived and worked out of caves since the beginning of civilization. But we haven’t left them behind: A new development, bored into the side of a Norwegian cliff, shows what’s possible with modern engineering and design. The problem posed to L.E.FT, a New York firm, and STUDIO hp AS, based in Norway, was how to connect the lower and upper portions of Holmestrand, a small village, while creating a new public space. So they proposed an elevator that would become the site’s transportational spine. Around it, they layered chambers that peer out of the cliffside; at the bottom would be a harborside park, a hotel and regional administrative buildings, while at the top would be condos and office space.

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About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.

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