Underground Art Gallery, is located on Satucket Road, one half mile from Brewster Grist Mill and herring run in Brewster, Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Malcolm Wells, a former office building designer, just trying to undo the horrible damage he did by paving more than 50 acres of land for buildings and their surrounding asphalt, created the 1,200-foot gallery he designed. It was built in 1985. Originally the Gallery was planned as Malcolm and his wife Karen North Wells’ home, but they ran out of the funds to add living quarters. So now they live in a nearby tiny shingled bungalow built in the early 1900s from a Sears-Roebuck catalog kit.

The studio opened in 1990 with 250 tons of earth as a roof, supported by ten tree trunks. Because of the earth that surrounds three walls and the roof, the gallery is exceptionally quiet and insulated from outside noises. In the summer, fall, and spring,  the roof comes alive with the blooming of wildflowers, wisteria and grasses.

The gallery employs passive solar heating and cooling techniques to keep naturally warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  Hardwood trees in front also add cooling shade, while the all-glass southern exposure allows sunlight to heat the gallery in the cold winter months. Wells heats the gallery by burning just 2 cords of wood in a small stove every year.

The privy features a waterless, odorless, composting toilet with an aerating vent to the roof, allowing people to use the facilities in comfortable privacy while saving fafillions of gallons of fresh water per year.

That is fresh.

-Cara

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