Simple Earth Buildings for the Humid Tropics


Simple Earth Buildings for the Humid Tropics by Patti Stouter is the third in a series of PDF documents that she has written (and made available for free) about building in hot and humid environments. This 17-page document focuses on several basic home plans that could easily be built with earthbags.

Patti writes, “These buildings have been sized to conform to the rules that have kept mud block
buildings without cement, asphalt, or steel standing for centuries in areas without serious
hazards. Modern earth buildings too often use cement when it is not necessary.”

In discussing building styles, Patti suggests, “Earthbags can be shaped in many ways, and you should make
buildings that fit your area and lifestyle. Buildings for hot, humid areas need windows to let breezes cool them off. Yet earth buildings are strongest with fewer windows. Rooms where people gather overheat easily
and need more windows. You must decide how much of the walls need to be openings.”

Much of what she emphasizes are design principles, such as ways to create strong walls using earthbags. For this she suggests the use of piers or buttresses, jogged wall patterns, or curved walls. One key to wall strength is allowing about a square meter of wall material between windows.

She also discusses the use of earthbags to create a substantial raised foundation for more conventional buildings that use lighter materials, often preferred in these climates.

Strategies for building sequentially, so that the house can grow as the needs of the family expand, are mentioned.

I think this little book is valuable for anyone thinking about home design, even in other climate regions.

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