The New York Times has a great article up on how Londoners are digging underneath their houses to get around space and planning permissions.
Here’s an excerpt:
LONDON — To compensate for the lack of natural light around his new basement swimming pool, one London homeowner installed an outdoor camera that projects real-time images of the changing sky onto the pool ceiling. To assuage the concerns of swimmers who hate cramped spaces, another resident dug down so far beneath the earth that his pool is 16 feet deep and has a high-diving board.
Britain is not immune from the housing slump, and London is still reeling from last month’s riots. But never mind. In a city that has some of the richest people and most expensive real estate in the world, well-off homeowners who have exhausted the traditional methods of home expansion — build up, or build out — are enthusiastically branching out the only other way possible: down.
Far beneath London’s surface, and to their neighbors’ considerable chagrin, they are using enormous machines to remove thousands of tons of dirt and replace it with new structures extending as many as four floors down.