38

Prototaxites! Fossil mushrooms are rarities. Mushrooms are the fungal equivalent of flowers - spongy, ephemeral, disposable bodies generated to serve a reproductive need. You could not use mushrooms for wood. The prototaxites were not mushrooms. They were large and substantial; up to 7 meters high. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/long-...


28

Build an elevated surface structure. Many ancient middle eastern civilizations built their houses with doors on top of the buildings to prevent invaders from getting in, but this also helps prevent sand from getting in too. Ideally, the dwarves will build the entrance at the top of a natural hill or ridgeline. This has many benefits including keeping more ...


23

What you need is a shovel. Or more specifically lots of shovels, lots of dwarves with shovels for that matter. What you've described is very similar to an ant's nest and any footage of ants will show you that cleaning out and clearing the entrances is a full time job. Any time the wind blows it blows sand down the hole, then along come the ants and clear ...


17

Buildings made out of mushrooms already exist, so I would say that the plausibility is very high. The vegetative part of the fungus, called mycelium, can be fashioned into to "bricks" by growing them in brick shaped molds and adding in some corn husks. Using these "bricks" a builder can construct many different types of buildings.


14

Any size would be practical, including a single individual Though we don't call them such, Radioisotope heater units are technically small nuclear reactors, which only give out about a watt of heat. The description that you gave requiring an operator and control rods does imply a larger unit, but there is no reason to believe that this single purpose ...


12

A castle is a lot more than seeing one and copying it. I see cars everyday, but wouldn't be able to make one. I couldn't even make the tools that make a carburetor, and I'm an engineer. Same with castles, there is a whole bunch of technology behind castles ranging from tools, to stone/woodworking, to quarrying and transporting materials, to strategic ...


10

If you have the technology to have swords, you have the technology to have something like a castle. Consider wooden motte-and-bailey castles. They simply take lots and lots of people who haul earth and logs. But imagine the elvish castles have cyclopean walls with large blocks. They were done in ancient times, when the elves had magic were helped by ...


10

Even human villages need maintenance to not be covered by dust. See what happens to abandoned cities: they end buried in relatively short time. So, what your dwarves need is just continuous and constant maintenance service.


9

If the planet is in the process of becoming tidally locked, there will be a period of time where the day-night terminator moves, but slowly enough to make noon and midnight still be deadly. Your city might need to move to follow dawn/dusk. Note that this is an exceedingly unlikely scenario. On cosmic timescales, tidal locking is the blink of an eye. For ...


9

Relevant facts and formulas: Horizon distance on Earth: $d \approx 3.57\sqrt{h}$ Normal visual acuity: 1 minute of arc In order for a circular wall to appear straight, the wall needs to deviate from straight by no more than one minute of arc over the course of the visible section. Since we're dealing with small sections of absurdly huge structures, we can ...


8

There are two buildings that I'm aware of that have significant internal weather problems, Nasa's Vehicle Assembly Building and Boeing’s Everett facility. Boeing have resolved this by fitting an air circulation system. Nasa resolved the problem with air conditioning and moisture reduction systems. Since the reducing the size of the building is not an ...


8

I used to work as a forester in Canada, where we do have temperate climate (although somewhat on the colder side of the spectrum, I must admit). I've seen several habitations and other abandoned things through my days in the bushes, so I have some range through my assessment. First, was it build to last? It seems so from your description, yet most of the ...


7

Glass and/or Lava The Dwarves of Zanzibar dig just like any other dwarf to find valuable gems and ores. In addition to this, they have exceptional forging abilities. To compare DoZ with any other dwarf is like looking at night and day. Mountain dwarves are dirty and dank looking. DoZ are bedazzled in shimmering light from the glass weapons and armor ...


7

You don't need to do anything. You really don't. The visuals in LOTR and the Hobbit show some pretty huge underground spaces, sure. If you want to argue that the engineering involved is questionable, and just stonework couldn't support that kind of vaulting, sure, but the idea that what we see in the movies represents a significant hollowing of the entire ...


6

Whalebone. Those bones are big. They can be found on the ocean floor. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whale_fall Ancient Siberians made huts out of mammoth bones. source And people do make huts out of whalebone found on the beach. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/223280094000002936 Probably there would be a lot more whale bones available to your merpeople ...


5

Consider Orthanc. From the Two Towers There stood a tower of marvelous shape. It was fashioned by the builders of old, who smoothed the Ring of Isengard, and yet it seemed a thing not made by the craft of Men, but riven from the bones of the earth in the ancient torment of the hills... They came now to the foot of Orthanc. It was black, and ...


5

I like the Coral husbandry of JBH and carving out of cave/cliff walls. But I can add one more option. A civilization may advance to a point where they need to use energy sources. Best energy source maybe geothermal vents and underwater volcanoes. this could provide energy for future technological development. Now if your "merfolk" could harness this, they ...


5

Cegfault took the most obvious material: stone. Let me offer a couple more. Coral Houses could be grown through coral polyp husbandry. Officially, the material is calcium carbonate. Houses of nearly any size could be made through this method, though is would be slow. However, with a bit of engineering, walls, floors, and roofs can be built this way. ...


5

Oculus. https://www.history.com/news/is-romes-pantheon-a-giant-sundial Here is the Pantheon, oldest domed building in the world. The Romans addressed your issue by leaving the top open: the Oculus. It is pretty sweet, the Oculus. They can use the light to produce some cool effects. Underneath it is just a marble floor so I guess they have to mop up ...


4

Assuming the mer-people can breathe through water, and mirroring Native American style homes, then it would be practical to form homes out of sedimentary rocks at the bottom of the sea. These would likely resemble the homes of cliff dwellers or adobe-style homes. Most rock at the bottom of the sea is sedimentary; this makes it dense and hard. A creature ...


4

The thing about mushrooms is that they grow on decay; on dead wood, plant matter and organic waste. They require either the fuel of other plants, or the symbiosis with them. In the latter case, there would either have to be millennia of cultivation and harmony between the humans and mushrooms, allowing for enough food to be provided to the mushrooms to allow ...


4

The simple answer is that your wall should curve downwards rather than around, and thereby form a Great Circle with the same diameter as the planet/moon it's built on but still appearing perfectly straight. If you build it on the Moon, its diameter would be smaller than if you build it on Earth. You can actually stretch this technique slightly to have your ...


4

It will be pretty run down, especially if it is made of wood. Vegetation will have taken possession of the surroundings. I have seen such places during my vacations in some remote areas of rural Japan, they have their sinister appeal. Here is what can be found online: Fascinating footage shows an explorer uncovering an abandoned Japanese village that ...


3

Monuments are impressive because they are difficult / expensive to build, so using easily available local materials is not appropriate. Mighty rivers like the Amazon and Congo exist because of topography. The headwaters in higher elevations get exposed and worn down into clay, which is washed downstream and then deposited to fill in the river bed and expand ...


3

It doesn't have to be mushrooms, but it can be one. Prototaxites have just been mentioned. One would go further and propose a giant prototaxite species which survived to this day. Another option is a plant akin the Myrmecodia (ant-plant) which swells its trunk to accommodate the ants which inhabit it. The giant plant may have a trunk wide enough to harbor ...


3

Active use of Dune Forming. https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/dune/ Dunes form behind obstacles where the sand isnt blown away as fast. The dwarves create a range of hide fences around their hole, preferably several layers of it. This causes Dunes to form around their hole and reduces the amount of sand that will blow into the hole. The ...


3

First suggestion: My answer in this question What is the minimum radius of a circular corridor for the walls to appear straight?1 discussed various architectural methods to trick someone into thinking that a circular corridor was actually straight. Most of those methods that might work indoors wouldn't work so well for an outdoor wall, but possibly ...


3

In XIXth century there was a fad for neo-(insert style here). Apparently in RL people needed less good justification to build a building, than you write a story. All you need that after it become popular at that moment and somehow it stick. Realistic justification: fad and collective believe what's a good taste someone put it to a building code / zoning ...


3

There are big limiting factors. Our buildings differ greatly by the materials property we can produce (technology), climate, ideology and purpose. For example, look up eastern vs western buildings throughout the history. Some points you may consider: They have to be able to navigate effectively without any external aids, otherwise they wouldn't have ...


3

Ropes and strings with various knots, bells. They can horizontally span intersections; you can cross by moving them from your path once you ran into them, but you'll have them in your way and won't be able to miss their message. These can be used to create "soft barrier avenues" like police tape or velvet ropes that alert some people away from an area, but ...


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