Much as been written about the technical aspects of building with earthbags and how they can be used to build safe, durable, beautiful, low-cost structures. But many readers are unfamiliar with this building method and are wondering what earthbag buildings look like. This inspired me to create a virtual tour of some of the best projects on the Internet. All of the projects are accessible from our Projects page.
Ready? Let’s take a tour of some of the finest earthbag projects:
– OM Dome, Koh Phangan, Thailand: Master builder Trevor Lytle oversaw the construction of the world’s largest symmetrical earthbag dome (27 foot diameter) for a spiritual temple at the Pyramid Yoga Center.
– The Pegasus Children’s Project, Kathmandu, Nepal: Using a technique developed by Cal Earth in California, architect Nader Kahlili worked with the Pegasus Children’s Project to build a small sustainable village of over 40 “super adobe domes” to provide permanent shelter. This project accommodates 80 children, 10 staff, and a small school in the Himalaya Mountains.
– Kelly and Rosana Hart’s earthbag/papercrete home, Crestone, Colorado: Completed in 2000, this 1250 sq.ft. home was made with earthbags filled with scoria (crushed volcanic stone) and covered with papercrete plaster. The passive solar design performs well at over 8,000 ft. in the Colorado mountains. For more information, see Building with Bags: How We Made Our Experimental Earthbag/Papercrete House, 1-1/2 hr. DVD.
– Earthbag Domes of Akio Inoue, Tenri, Japan: One of the most experienced and knowledgeable earthbag builders, Professor Inoue has completed at least 23 earthbag buildings in 7 countries. Most projects have been built in developing countries to help those in need recover from war, earthquakes and poverty.
– Honey House, Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer, Moab, Utah: Authors of Earthbag Building – The Tools, Tricks and Techniques, Doni and Kaki are leading pioneers of the earthbag building movement. The Honey House serves as a drafting studio and cost less than $1,000.
– Alison Kennedy’s earthbag home in Moab, Utah: Many earthbag homes are domes, but this house demonstrates how earthbags are equally suitable for structures with vertical walls. Bright and colorful, this home is one of my favorites.
– La Casa de Tierra, Ojochal, Costa Rica: This earthbag rental house is beautiful and practical. From certain angles it is difficult or impossible to tell it was made of earthbags.
– EarthDome House at Terrasante Village, Tucson, Arizona: This small dome is right at home in the desert. It is made of earthbags with a ferrocement roof insulated with recycled styrofoam. Domes like this can be built for around $1,000.
– Building an Earthbag Dome: An article by Rob Wainwright, describes how this 4 meter diameter dome was built at a sustainability education center in Australia. This dome includes a rubble trench footing with a French drain, passive solar design, rammed earth flooring and a living roof.
– Sand Castle, Steve and Carol Escott, Rum Cay, Bahamas: Their two story home on a remote island features a first floor made with earthbags filled with sand and crushed coral (marine dredgings), and a second story framed house covered with a hip-style roof. Their home has withstood several hurricanes so far without major damage.
– Tatu Penrith’s Sandbag Hideaway, South Africa: Built with the Eco-Beam building system, this home features high ceilings and a great view overlooking vine-covered hills and the bay. Its modern, artistic appearance will appeal to many.
– Kentucky Dome Home, John Capillo, Berea, Kentucky: HomeGrown HideAways, a natural building school, arranged a workshop to teach earthbag building and help John build his home. It features a 16 foot dome, a larger circular area on the south and a wooden roof.
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