Earthbag Dojo

Earthbag Dojo

I just met Disa and Rey at my latest earthbag workshop. I was really impressed with their dojo design and wanted others to see it.

The Dojo and Wellness Center design is an adaptation of Cal-Earth’s eco dome. Our dojo will be built first at the center, and gradually we will build our living quarters around it. Our dome will be much bigger than Cal Earth’s and will not support an earthbag roof, so we are thinking to construct a geodesic dome roof covered with lime plaster or flying concrete.

We have a sea view so we would like a second floor. The walls are 4m high and the top of the dome is another 4m. The kitchen will be outside, and the toilets and shower separate. The toilets will be solar composting and all grey water will be re-cycled. We also aim to make use of wind, solar and wave energy available to us.

Our land will be located on Panglao Island, Bohol, Philippines. We hope to secure the land and start building in 6 months to a year’s time. We will be running workshops and practicing our skills and theories on 5 small pixie dome houses in the ‘garden’. Anyone wishing to see our progress in real time or contact us directly should join our Facebook site Rey and Disa’s Earthbag Dojo page.

10 thoughts on “Earthbag Dojo”

  1. hi Kelly, Owen, everyone

    Sadly the plan for the dojo above didn’t work out because I wanted to build a wellness retreat instead…so the dojo will move to the next field, but the house will stay, so there are new designs for the house and retreat/ wellness center. Work started and stopped :D ($$) and here is another link for the blog as facebook decided to change its format again!
    Posted on a different page I have asked some plaster questions.Thank you all for making this website work. Thanks Kelly and Owen for answering all our questions and making all our dreams possible and a little less painless.

  2. Thanks Kelly and Owen for your input… we thought not to use bags at all but a light weight plaster, we did a little research on flying concrete. Maybe some kind of concrete/ plaster mix held by mesh and the re-bar frame. As the diameter of the inside is 16m ( GOSH!)and the highest point of the ceiling an undecided 4-6 meter, we were advised against earth bags :) However would earth bags filled with a lightweight substance work better than a concrete / plaster /lime (research needed) mix?
    …Found that 9 day WOOFer house project to be a perfect practice project.THANKS for posting.
    Owen; read that wonderfully helpful OM DOME too.
    We are trying to buy one of the 2 recommended books, but getting one to the Philippines is tricky (Amazon wont deliver)… So when we have built a small one from start to finish we may have a better idea of how to attempt a big one…

    • You’ll want some insulation on top. The lightest solution is probably curved parallel rebar trusses with rice hulls inside the truss. Plaster the top like flying concrete. Add rice hulls later.

  3. Thanks so much Kelly. We are really excited to have secured the land now, and at Christmas we hope to go there and practice building a little roundhouse for storage, and a good place to contemplate the enormous feat of a larger structure.Rey thinks to build a bent rebar “frame” on the inside. it really will be big and our biggest challenge I think.

    We have come a little unstuck about how to construct 650m of “fence” around the land…having so little cash we are thinking some kind of tyre / bougainvillea wall. It’s an awful lot of earthbags…any hints?

    • A rebar framework could work if it is well designed with enough crossing intersections that are welded or tied with wire to make it very rigid. Then, if the bags are assembled with even pressure as the dome rises, it seems possible to me.

      As for cheap, effective fencing, your idea of using bougainvillea is good; I know that it can produce an almost impenetrable hedge over time. Perhaps some wire initially to train it in the direction you want.

  4. This looks like a lovely design. I was glad to read that the plan is to switch to a geodesic frame for the domed portion, since earthbags aren’t very stable when arranged in spherical shapes.

    I once did design an earthbag dome with a spherical shape that used a wooden geodesic framework inside for support, and this worked out very well. The wooden frame was left visible on the inside.


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