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Posts Tagged ‘affordable’

Rainwater Towers Apartments 2 (click to enlarge)

Rainwater Towers Apartments 2 (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Four 16′ interior diameter roundhouses and one 12’ interior bath, total 842 sq. ft. interior, two bedrooms, one bath, Footprint: 50′ x 50′

Description: This three-story, triple roundhouse tower apartment complex is designed to provide affordable housing in urban areas. The towers are primarily earthen construction. Made with earthbag tubes filled with earth and tamped solid, very few manufactured/processed materials are required. This greatly reduces construction costs. The apartment name comes from the fact rainwater is captured on the roof and stored in cisterns, which reduces demand on city water supplies. Each apartment is accessible by a spiral staircase in the front tower. Features include two spacious 201 sq. ft. bedrooms with large closets, modern kitchen and bath, pantry and comfortable living room. All rooms are round to create an embracing, inviting ambience. The round towers are naturally stable and form a visually striking exterior.

Rainwater Towers Apartments 2 floorplan (click to enlarge)

Rainwater Towers Apartments 2 floorplan (click to enlarge)

Over 130 designs at Earthbag House Plans
Rainwater Towers Apartments 1

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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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Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse earthbag house design (click to enlarge)

Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse earthbag house design (click to enlarge)

This is my second plan that’s designed specifically for building roundhouses in stages. As I stated in a previous blog post, I think building roundhouses like this is the simplest, easiest way to build an earthbag home: build in stages, one roundhouse at a time so you can pay with cash and move in right away. It’s far easier to start small and add on later than jump right into building a large home that could take months or even years. Please note, this design illustrates just one of many possible ways to build in stages with an added greenhouse. Many of my clients come up with their own design, often by combining various plans and options of mine. So have fun. Make a simple sketch and send to me at naturalhouses [AT] gmail.com for a free estimate. One easy way to do this is to print the plans from my website and cut out the parts you’re interested in. Rearrange the parts as you wish, glue them to another piece of paper, and draw any remaining parts by hand. Write notes on your sketch if needed. Scan and save as a jpeg file and email to me. This could also be a fun school project and good way to learn about designing houses.

Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse floorplan (click to enlarge)

Two Roundhouses with Greenhouse floorplan (click to enlarge)

This unique design combines: – Hobbit House: 471 sq. ft. interior, optional 471 sq. ft. loft, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 28′-6″ diameter – Roundhouse Studio (master bedroom in this design): 177 sq. ft. interior, fold-out bed, 1 bath, Footprint: 18′ diameter, plus buttress – Greenhouse for year-round food production: 70 sq. ft. interior Total: 718 sq. ft. interior, Footprint: 38 x 52 ft. Related: Three Roundhouses Design

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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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$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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Mountain Cottage (click to enlarge)

Mountain Cottage (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 638 sq. ft. interior plus 638 sq. ft. upper floor, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, Footprint: 25′ x 32′

Description: Excellent solar gain, superinsulated earthbag walls filled with insulation, and interior thermal mass make this home ideal for cold mountain climates.

Mountain Cottage Main (click to enlarge)

Mountain Cottage Main (click to enlarge)


Mountain Cottage Upper (click to enlarge)

Mountain Cottage Upper (click to enlarge)

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Summer Breeze (click to enlarge)

Summer Breeze (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 1,335 sq. ft. interior, 4 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 33′ x 48′

Description: This luxurious earthbag home is ideal for hot climates. The center section has extra windows on each end to allow breezes to flow through the house. Features include a large master bedroom with private bath access, laundry, breakfast bar, wood stove and built-in cabinets.

Summer Breeze (click to enlarge)

Summer Breeze (click to enlarge)

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