Simple Survival Model Earthship

Michael Reynolds of Earthship Biotecture has lots of great ideas. Even though he uses tires (which take more time and effort) instead of earthbags, his books and videos are highly recommended. This particular video has excellent 3D modeling showing how the structure is built. Note the insulation around the perimeter of the home to create a less costly, miniature version of the PAHS system. That should be plenty of thermal mass to stabilize the indoor temperature year-round.

Earthbag Earthship.

9 thoughts on “Simple Survival Model Earthship”

  1. I found another magazine from 1980 :,+May,+1980.&source=bl&ots=hyuM97rByM&sig=PZ4CwtLEmEDG75hltYa_kqj6dLo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=yls9T8HND-HF0QGqhrjQBw&ved=0CCcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=Popular%20Science%2C%20May%2C%201980.&f=false

    See page 82. So you can see Earthships aren’t entirely unique. There were a lot of cool designs like that back then.

    There are a couple more on David Wright’s website, his older stuff is near the bottom :

    These days I think he’s into SIP panels :

    OK, I’ll shut up now :)


  2. Oh I do have a productive comment. The Earthship was a design from the 70’s, he just kept going with it all this time.

    David Wright AIA had a similar design at the time called “Sun scoop” that ewas on the cover of Popular Science December 1976. You can read the entire magazine here :

    See the cover then skip to page 95 for the article :)

    I have all kinds of cool architecture books from the 70’s, like these :

    They had awesome ideas back then but some how we ended up in a dark age rather than a space age ???

    OK, have fun!

  3. I don’t dislike anyone who says “I want to become a rich man” – but when someone says “I am trying to save the world” I expect a certain type of behavior.

    Anyway, sorry, I realize this isn’t a productive type of discussion.

  4. @ Craig Mr Reynolds certainly has a questionable Operation when it comes to his rhetoric vs the way he operates his business. Personally I feel Mr Reynolds is a good man doing the best he can with what he has. He’s changed various ways he operates and if you look at the above Earthship he is trying to make this concept cost efficient. If one were to relay this to hypocrisy I’d have to relay the thought that hypocrisy is a human condition. I’m unsure if Mr Reynolds has reached the point he’s trying to get to.

    I would ask Mr Geiger if he’s reached a level of perfection he’s strived for but to be honest from reading this blog I don’t think he has. I can’t recall the particular article but it was in regard to the $300 house competition. It was on the creation of what I believe is called hyper wattle and daub and a house created of it. I saw a certain level of respect in the article for the person that created the house. Such respect really highlights a point I’ve been told numerous times. The point being you never stop growing and learning. If I understand hyper wattle and daub it is based on the hyper adobe system in a way. I’m ranting at this point but it’s like watching the beginnings of Rock n Roll and everyone freely trading tricks of the trade.

    I think Mr Reynolds has only set out a goal. He uses over the top logic to push it. But he does conform to it as best he can. The above design seems to me to cut out a large amount of concrete associated with his earthship. Certainly he could have used other means to make his design cheaper and in the future he may. Such as making pallet walls on the interior.

    I read somewhere that their is no superior way to make a house. their are different techniques and each project may call for a different one or multiple combinations of each.

    • I give Michael Reynolds very high marks for being a natural building pioneer. He’s made a very big impact in his lifetime. His books should be in every library. But as for me, if I see an easier/better way then that’s the direction I will take. And right now earthbags, straw bales, pallets, stone, earth, poles, bamboo and recycled materials are some of my favorites. Like you say, combine locally available materials to match the climate, your skills, desired look, etc. to make really good buildings. That’s why it’s good to know a variety of techniques.

  5. Here is another comment you can delete if it’s lame.

    I used to follow Reynolds and I have some of his books and I watched his movie.

    In the movie he literally says “I am trying to save the world”

    After I watched it I was ready to do it ! So I went to his website and was appalled to see his blueprints were over $3.500 with no low cost or zero cost solutions.

    I think Owen Geiger is trying to save the world :)

    I look forward to seeing your Earthship designs.

    Not to mention, David Wright AIA speaks out against using tires for homes, he says they are toxic.

    OK, I need to get off my soapbox and get back to work :)



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