Trying to stay cool? Syrians have been using these earthen houses for that exact purpose since 3,700 BC.
Made from mud, straw, dirt, and stones, the beehive-like dwellings are lean, green, and super-cool to look at.
Beehive houses, built throughout the rural farming communities of Syria’s hottest deserts, are also found in it’s largest urban cities. Aleppo, the largest city in the country, is home to several beehive dwellings, which are used for storage and residency.
Made of local, natural materials, the structures‘ thick walls keep the interior cool by keeping out the sun’s heat. Builders begin by stacking mud bricks in a circle and building height in a conical shape, which is then capped off by a dome. The interior and exterior walls are packed tight with straw and mud for insulation — even while the desert can heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the interior of each dwelling remains around 75-85! The dry desert heat also acts as a sealant for the walls, making them hard and durable.
At the top of each building, an oculus provides the inside with light and draws hot, rising air up and out. The interior is protected from the elements (even the rare rainy season) by the structure’s conical shape, which facilitates the quick draining of rain, allowing for minimal erosion of the homes’ outer structure.