Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Earth Construction

I am fascinated with homes made of dirt. That’s right, dirt. It may seem outlandish to some, but earthen construction (building with materials readily available, and often abundant, in nature) has been around since pre-historic times. The current trendiness of all things “green” has put earthen construction back in the minds of architects and prospective home builders. Turns out this inexpensive, structurally-sound, environmentally-friendly construction method, in which adobe, rammed earth, compressed earth, cob, straw bale, earthbag, and other materials are used, can make for a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing home. A wealth of information on this type of construction is available at the library as well as on the Internet.


Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods

Building with Cob: A Step-by-Step Guide

Buildings of Earth and Straw: Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw-Bale Architecture

Design like You Give a Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crisis

Earth Construction: A Comprehensive Guide

Earth Sheltered Homes: Plans and Designs

The Natural Plaster Book: Earth, Lime, and Gypsum Plasters for Natural Homes

Websites and Articles

"Down to Earth Homes" from Mother Earth News
"Earth-sheltered homes cut heating and cooling bills, create weather- and noise-proof shelter and blend in with the landscaping, including comparing options, designing with dirt."

"Earthbag Construction" from Mother Earth News
"Make durable buildings from the dirt in your yard"

Green Home Building
Amazing source of information including information on natural building materials, sustainable architecture, building codes and more

House Alive
Organization that teaches natural building and natural design workshops

Rammed Earth Works
"Provides consulting services to architects, contractors and homeowners wanting to incorporate rammed earth into a green building program"

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