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Archive for the ‘Rectangular/Square’ Category

This cordwood house could be built with earthbags, straw bales or other sustainable materials. (click to enlarge)

This cordwood house could be built with earthbags, straw bales or other sustainable materials. (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 776 sq. ft. interior, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 30′ x 35′

Description: This simple yet practical home plan is shown with cordwood walls. The same house can be made with earthbags, straw bales, adobe, stone and other materials.

Cordwood house floorplan (click to enlarge)

Cordwood house floorplan (click to enlarge)

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Custom Crow (click to enlarge)

Custom Crow (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 1,064 sq. ft. interior plus 510 sq. ft. loft, 3 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 31′ x 41′ plus porch

Description: One of my favorites, this design has a cathedral ceiling over the main living space, wood stove, passive solar design and large porch on the west to block the hot afternoon sun. There is a large loft over the bedrooms and bath. This new version has three bedrooms. The original Crow house design has two bedrooms.

Custom Crow floorplan (click to enlarge)

Custom Crow floorplan (click to enlarge)

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$300 Forest House (click to enlarge)

$300 Forest House (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 256 sq. ft. 16’x16’ one room house plus 4’ wrap-around porch, Footprint: 24′x24′

Description: Do you dream of having a small place in the woods that can be built practically for free? The Forest House with its striking pyramid roof is made almost entirely of natural products that are readily available in tropical forests – wood poles, bamboo and thatch. Recycled doors, cabinets, sink, composting toilet, solar shower and other materials, plus building on a hillside keep costs to a minimum. Consider leasing the land or work-trade agreement. Features include steeply pitched roof to shed rain, open ceiling to improve ventilation, built-in desk, retractable plank and metal barriers on each post to deter pests. Options include under-bed storage, mosquito bed net, split bamboo (shown) or bamboo matt, split bamboo or wood plank floors, rustic curved wood railings. Building permit not required. High speed Internet not included.

$300 Forest House floorplan (click to enlarge)

$300 Forest House floorplan (click to enlarge)

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HNC Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

HNC Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


“The Haitian National Congress (HNC) asked me to conduct training next May for bright and eager Haitian adult citizens who want to become entrepreneurs, nudge their country more toward functional democracy, learn problem solving skills and learn free enterprise practices that will increase their personal income. These trainees will then return to each of Haiti’s 10 departments to teach others about developing cottage businesses, managing money, establishing new markets, increasing vegetable production and more.

Haiti needs more housing stock. For the individual Haitian, owning a home and building equity in it is a way to better oneself financially. HNC is working with folks who have minimal income. HNC encourages them to build wealth which helps the country build a stronger economy. That leads to more jobs, more children getting educated, better health care, etc. To have value in the housing market, they need a house that is modern (plumbing and electricity), durable (earthquake and hurricane resistant) and of course, affordable. With a modern and durable house as collateral you can borrow money to start a small business. Lack of access to capital is a major barrier in the third world to individuals lifting themselves out of poverty. Earthbag houses are perfect. Hands on learning how to build an earthbag house will be an important part of the HNC training. The trainees will learn, and they will in turn train others in earthbag building. Modifications can be made in the field in response to local feedback.

Dr. Owen Geiger took my basic ideas, enhanced them greatly and developed an attractive plan. It is a durable and leak proof ‘core house’ with a multipurpose room (kitchen and living room), bathroom and bedroom. There is a covered, raised, and railed front porch for Haitian style outdoor living and for social gathering. Also, Dr. Geiger designed the walls a bit higher than 8’, dropped the ceiling slightly and put two ladder accessible lofts above. There are covered porches around the entire house that can serve as outdoor cooking, food preparation and work areas. They can also be easily converted into additional rooms. HNC and I are happy with this earthbag house plan that offers so much flexibility. The owners will have several options for sleeping, storage and work areas. While the disaster resistant core house remains the same, the lofts and porches allow each family to set up the house just the way they like it in order to meet their specific needs.”

HNC Earthbag House floorplan (click to enlarge)

HNC Earthbag House floorplan (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 288 sq. ft. interior, 274 sq. ft. loft, one bedroom, one bath, covered porch area: 903 sq. ft., footprint: 31’x43’

Source: Dr. Jerry Epps Teach Democracy
HNC House website with free plans coming soon

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Free Economizer Earthbag House Plan (click to enlarge)

Free Economizer Earthbag House Plan (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 448 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 19′ x 31′

Description: This plan is designed to be compact and efficient. Most houses this size do not have as many features — washer/dryer, wood stove, and modern kitchen and bath. There are even two closets. An archway separates the bedroom from the main living area, yet maintains a sense of privacy with a room divider. Note: this plan is listed in the free shelter category.

Free Economizer Earthbag House Floorplan (click to enlarge)

Free Economizer Earthbag House Floorplan (click to enlarge)

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Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)

Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)

Specifications: 1,127 sq. ft. interior living space, 441 sq. ft. interior greenhouse, total = 1,568 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 36’x53’

Description: This modern solar pit house is based on the traditional pit house. The construction is much the same. Additional ‘modules’ have been added to create an elongated rectangular design for added living space and windows added on the south for solar gain. Each module is based on wood posts set in geopolymer or concrete footings. Wood beams approximately 10”-12” diameter are joined at the posts with half lap joints and pinned in place with rebar or logging spikes. Smaller poles around the perimeter lean against the beams. 24” wide earthbag walls with a reinforced geopolymer or concrete bond beam rest on rubble trench foundations.

Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)

Solar Pit House (click to enlarge)


Solar Pit House Section View (click to enlarge)

Solar Pit House Section View (click to enlarge)

Complete drawings available at http://naturalbuildingblog.com/house-plans/free-house-plans/.
More information at our Natural Building Blog:
Solar Pit House Building Details
Evolution of the Pit House
Affordable, Superinsulated Cold Climate Homes

Note to other designers: I’d like to refine this design with input from other design professionals and make all drawings freely available on the Internet. Please email me at strawhouses [at] yahoo.com if you would like to contribute. Or just leave a comment here if you’re short on time.

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Guard Tower (click to enlarge)

Guard Tower (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 169 sq. ft. interior main floor, 169 sq. ft. unfinished upper floor, total 338 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 16′ x 16′.

Description: The Guard Tower is part of my Earthbag Castle that should be completed soon. The Guard Tower serves as a tool shed and observation tower in ‘peaceful’ times. It could also function as a small dwelling for workers.

Guard Tower (click to enlarge)

Guard Tower (click to enlarge)

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Carriage House (click to enlarge)

Carriage House (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 403 sq. ft. interior main floor, 403 sq. ft. unfinished upper floor, total 806 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 16′ x 34′.

Description: This two car garage has space on the second floor for a garage apartment. The roof design can be altered at no extra charge. As shown, it’s part of my Earthbag Castle.

Carriage House (click to enlarge)

Carriage House (click to enlarge)

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Custom Chonburi (click to enlarge)

Custom Chonburi (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 1,134 sq. ft. interior main floor, 1,134 sq. ft. upper floor, total 2,268 sq. ft. interior, 2 bedroom, 3 bath, Footprint: 27′ x 29′. Pantry and mechanical room could be converted into an extra bedroom.

Description: This is a larger version of the original Chonburi design that includes two large bedrooms versus three smaller ones (all upstairs for privacy). Master bedroom has private bath. There’s also a pantry, mechanical room, sitting room, arched doorways and large country-style kitchen. Optional cathedral ceiling in master bedroom. The crenellated roof design maintains the classic lines and adds a touch of grandeur. There’s also a large roof deck where you can take in the scenery and cool breezes. This design is part of my Earthbag Castle.

Custom Chonburi Main Floor (click to enlarge)

Custom Chonburi Main Floor (click to enlarge)


Custom Chonburi Upper (click to enlarge)

Custom Chonburi Upper (click to enlarge)

Original Chonburi (624 sq. ft. interior main floor, 624 sq. ft. upper floor, total 1,248 sq. ft. interior, 3 bedroom, 3 bath, Footprint: 27′ x 29′)

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$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


Description: 11.1 sq. m. interior, 5.4 sq. m. sleeping loft, 11.2 sq. m. patio for cooking and socializing. Single units can be expanded by adding on in any direction or joined to create multi-unit structures. Almost all materials are free or recycled: grain bags, rubble, clay, door, security bars, earthen plaster and floors, or locally available, natural materials: bamboo, rice hull insulation.
$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House (click to enlarge)


This is my entry for ‘The $300 House Open Design Challenge.’ Over the next two weeks I’ll be adding more drawings and fleshing out my proposal. The challenge is to design affordable housing for the world’s poorest. You can view other proposals here. Several other earthbag house designs have already been submitted. The $300 House was first described in a Harvard Business Review blog post by Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar. More info at The $300 House.

$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)


Option B: Starter Home with Additions
This is the same house with two rooms added on. One of the key advantages of this design is the ability to add on in any direction, so I wanted to show what this could look like. This larger version doubles the living area from 27.7 to 55.4 sq. meters, including the porch.
$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)

$300 Earthbag House with Additions (click to enlarge)

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