Uncommon Good Whole Earth Building — 8 Comments

  1. I just saw this video for the first time. I worked on this building alongside James and many others. We had a core crew, which was often supplemented by day laborers and volunteers. The vault mix was applied, as Jay said, by hand, in layers. The thickness of the vault “slabs” varied according to the vault span, with the vault slab ranging from 5″ to 7″ thick. The 5″ thick vault slab (for vaults of 8′ and 12′ spans) was applied in two layers. The 6″ and 7″ thick slabs (for vaults of 14′ and 16′ spans) were applied in three layers. Only enough time was left between layers for a very initial cure to occur. We generally did not leave a layer for more than 45 minutes before going back and beginning to apply the next layer. They were screeded, floated, and later scrubbed. The plans indicate that the vault mix could be sprayed on as well. We learned A LOT on this project. Very, very good people are utilizing this building.

  2. These guys ROCK! and are applying what “some other” organizations talk about but today sadly don’t..

    We need to get you out to Walker’s Folly Farm in future time to introduce this to the East Coast and beyond…

    Check us out at IPACMERC (dot) org to see what we mean..

    Blessings and we’ll be in touch..

  3. There are a number of videos on YouTube of this structure being built. Search “Uncommon Good Super Adobe” and you’ll find most of them.

    Those videos will answer a lot of the common questions, probably among the most common questions will be, “what method did they use to build the vaults?” The videos show it clearly.

    • There’s a photo on their website that shows the rebar vault. James of United Earth Builders says the bags complete the espar and stem walls up to a 5′ springline. The vaults are constructed with the same mix as the bags and rebar/remesh.

      Please post a link to the best video (especially one showing vault construction) if you have a chance.

      • Since I haven’t watched all the videos, I can’t say which might be the “best.” However, I’ll try not to totally cop out and give some kind of answer to your request.

        This video has some decent footage of a vault under construction, but it also is very long and significant portions of the video are extremely annoying (some of the audio has some nasty interference or something.) If you can tolerate the noise and look carefully, the video can answer many questions just by careful viewing. At least it starts out showing a vault under construction, and as soon as you get frustrated with the audio quality, you can stop viewing.

        This video is a good timelapse of the bag work, but stops before vault construction.

        I wouldn’t call either video “Best,” but that’s the best response to your request I have to offer.

      • After viewing another video, I have declared this one to be the best in my very humble opinion. it’s better than the other videos in my previous comment anyway. Some views of the metal formwork and rebar go by quickly. You may want to pause the video at key moments to study the details.

        • Thanks, Jay. It’s pretty good. The video would have benefited from some commentary. People are naturally going to be curious about the vaults. Whereas Khalili used concrete vaults, James said these vaults are made with the same material as the walls (cement stabilized earth). So I’m guessing they sprayed the mix against a form as PISE (Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth)

          • Watch the videos. They did not spray.

            They applied the cement stabilized soil by hand using “Cob-Like” loaves and techniques.

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