While I had to mute this video myself (sorry Dragonforce) I did enjoy watching the time lapse construction of this tiny earthbag house.
“Watch us build an Earthbag House in Fairbanks, AK! Music by Dragonforce! This time lapse covers two months of building with 2 people.”
As you can see the dirt in the middle was bagged and added to each course of bags. Not always is the onsite dirt ideal for earthbags but sometimes you get lucky. Between each course barbed wire is added and temporarily held down with rocks. The level of each course of bags is measured regularly as well as the window and door rough bucks. This is common in all masonry construction.
I assume the owner-builders extended the walls at the corners to add strength. Strait earthen walls like this typically require some perpendicular supports at regular intervals. I assume the region this earthbag home was built gets a lot of snow, so it makes sense to add some extra support. I also imagine the owner-builders will be adding a pitched roof to this little cabin to help support a high snow load.
My last thought/observation is that a high thermal mass cabin in a cold climate might be a bit of a mistake only because they take time to warm up. Once warm they hold their temperature well, especially if the exterior is insulated. For a short-visit cabin I think a well-insulated wood frame building might work better.
Of all the building methods earthbags seems the most inviting. Here’s another example of their strength under adverse conditions.
“The house has a diameter of 6 metres and is circular for maximum strength. After a winter of deluges, unprecedented freezing nights and last week a 6.1 earthquake, the house is still standing not only strong, but dry.”
Owen Geiger recently posted this small cabin design on his Earthbag House Plans website. It’s only 283 square feet and features a bathroom, kitchen, living space, and a sleeping loft. This may also be one of the designs to appear in Owen’s future coming house plans book.
The folks at the Earthbag Building Blog are hosting a workshop in Sakon Nakhon, Thailand from April 19-25, 2010. If a bit of world travel and earthbag house training sounds interesting to you definitely learn more about this workshop. Pictured here is one of their recently completed projects in Mexico.
Dr. Owen Geiger, the Director of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building, posted one of my design concepts on his Earthbag Building Blog. I had whipped this design up for a 1 Hour Design Challenge at Core77, in exactly 1-hour using Google SketchUp. Thanks for all the earthbag inspiration Owen!
If you have a subscription to Mother Earth News you probably spotted this cute earthbag building. While it’s small footprint (8-foot diameter) is probably too small to be a tiny house for most people it is an excellent example of how easy an earthbag home could be built. There are lots of books and plans for earthbag homes available but you can find a lot of information on the internet about building with earthbags online.