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300 CEB House with Bamboo Screening (click to enlarge)

$300 CEB House with Bamboo Screening (click to enlarge)


Hello readers. I encourage you to visit the $300 House design contest and vote for my designs. Out of about 200 entries, my three designs have mostly stayed in the top 20. Please take a few minutes to sign up and learn more about this exciting competition. A winning entry will help spread these sustainable and affordable building ideas across the globe. (Earthbag houses have already been built in at least 40 countries!)

Update: Thanks for your support! I won cash prizes for all three designs.

Here are the direct links to my (Owen Geiger) house designs:
Stone Dome
$300 Earthbag House
$300 CEB House (house shown above)

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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)


2-story Roundhouse Above Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)

2-story Roundhouse Above Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 20’ DIA roundhouse, 314 sq. ft. interior first floor, 252 sq. ft. interior loft, 314 sq. ft. interior survival shelter plus pantry), 880 total square foot interior, Footprint: 23′ DIA, 23′ x 31′ survival shelter

Description: I consider this one of my most efficient and practical designs. It’s prudent to have a safe place to go to in case of emergencies, and what better place than your basement. Hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and other natural disasters are all too common. While others panic and run for last minute preparations, you can calmly retreat to your basement (through a hidden trap door) that’s wisely stocked with everything you need to ride out the disaster.

More details on the Earthbag Survival Shelter that’s also sold separately.

2-story Roundhouse Above Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)

2-story Roundhouse Above Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)

Triple Dome Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)

Triple Dome Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Three 16′ interior diameter domes with 603 sq. ft. interior, 3 sleeping lofts with 312 sq. ft., total 915 sq. ft. interior, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 38′ x 38′

Description: This Triple Dome Survival Shelter provides much more space than my first earthbag survival shelter. This design is for long term survival for a family. It is earthquake and fire resistant, bullet and nuclear fallout resistant. It is built above grade to reduce risk of flooding. Features include buried cistern between the domes, plenty of storage space, vaulted entry with bullet resistant cellar door. Let’s hope for the best, but it’s also prudent to be prepared for the worst.

Triple Dome Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)

Triple Dome Survival Shelter (click to enlarge)

Roundhouse with Siberian Chum Roof (click to enlarge)

Roundhouse with Siberian Chum Roof (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 16′ interior diameter with 201 sq. ft. interior, sleeping loft, half bath, Footprint: 19′ x 19′

Description: Here’s a compact design ideal for extremely cold climates. The basic concept comes from the Siberian Chum (tent). There are two chum roofs or conical shaped roofs made of poles with insulation between. Virtually all materials are made from small diameter wood poles, which are often abundant in northern forests – roof poles, bond beam, lintels, loft joists, wood shakes and woodchip insulation. Tilt-down stairs lead to a sleeping loft. Only a very small wood stove is needed for heating. It would be quite easy to build debt-free by gradually adding extra roundhouses as time and resources allow. A small cluster of these roundhouses would be real cozy.

Roundhouse with Siberian Chum Roof (click to enlarge)

Roundhouse with Siberian Chum Roof (click to enlarge)

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 24′-6″ diameter with 471 sq. ft. interior, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 28′-6″ x 28′-6″

Description: Many readers prefer rounded domes. However, rounded domes cannot be built by earthbags alone. This solution — inspired by Richard Laurens — uses a 24′ diameter geodesic frame set on 42″ high earthbag walls. Metal and wood geodesic frames are available as kits through various suppliers, or you could build your own. Lightweight bags of insulation cover the entire dome. A key feature is the expansive window wall that provides a sunny, pleasant home. Most dome homes, in contrast, have insufficient or poorly protected windows.

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)

Earthbag/Geodesic Dome (click to enlarge)

Roundhouse with Yurt

Roundhouse with Yurt (click to enlarge)

Roundhouse with Yurt (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 20′ diameter yurt with 314 sq. ft. interior, 20′ diameter roundhouse with 227 sq. ft. interior, total = 541 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 20′ x 20′ plus deck

Description: This is an interesting design with numerous benefits. The roundhouse provides low cost space and a stable base for the yurt. The elevated yurt captures the views and breezes, and eliminates the need for building a roof (which is often an issue for those lacking carpentry experience). The deck adds extended living space and protects lower walls.

Note: this open plan can be arranged to your specifications.

Options:
Insulated earthbag foundation
Insulated yurts using earthbags