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Posts Tagged ‘earthbag design’

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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Earthbag Castle (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Castle (click to enlarge)


My goal with this project has been twofold: 1. showcase individual designs (which included some designs that have been on the drawing board for months), and 2. combine them into a self sustaining, fortified homestead, where a group of 5-20 people could weather economic and social upheaval. It is not designed to withstand a direct missile or tank attack by governments, or total nuclear Armageddon. All bets are off if things get that bad. But the 10’ high by 3’ thick walls (at the base) should go a long way toward deterring attackers if things do unravel. Anyway, this has been an interesting project and I’m glad to see the high page rankings. It’s definitely been a lot of work.

Earthbag Castle summary:
– The castle consists of four structures – Custom Chonburi main residence, Two-story Roundhouse Above Survival Shelter guesthouse/office, Carriage House with second floor garage apartment, Guard Tower tool shed.
– All structures include a waterproof roof deck with ladder access and crenellations capped with cement or geopolymer
– All structures are also available with more standard roof designs at no extra charge (example: trussed gable roofs).
– Renewable energy systems not shown, but there is ample roof space for solar panels, solar water heaters and wind generators
– Due to a lack of protective roof overhangs, this castle is best suited to dry climates, although a reader pointed out how similar castles have stood the test of time in European climates.
– All plans can be modified for a modest fee. Just email me at strawhouses [at] yahoo.com.

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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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Insulated earthbag vault with solar panels (click to enlarge)

Insulated earthbag vault with solar panels (click to enlarge)


Specifications: 263 sq. ft. interior, 74 sq. ft. sleeping loft, total 337 sq. ft. interior, one bath, Footprint: 15′-6″ x 30’

Description: As explained in one of our blog posts, earthbags are inherently unstable if they are stacked into a vault shape. The proposed design shown here resolves the stability issues. This vault building method is very strong, simple, low cost, superinsulating and extremely fast and easy to build. The shell of a small, simple vault could be built in about one week, in part because the top two-thirds of the vault is built with tubes or bags filled with lightweight insulation such as scoria or pumice (preferably nonflammable materials). These earthbag vaults are now available with a number of roof options: solar panels, metal roofing, living roof and thatch. A similar vault for arid conditions (no roof, just plaster) will be available soon.

Insulated earthbag vault floorplan (click to enlarge)

Insulated earthbag vault floorplan (click to enlarge)


Insulated earthbag vault with living roof (click to enlarge)

Insulated earthbag vault with living roof (click to enlarge)


Insulated earthbag vault with thatch roof (click to enlarge)

Insulated earthbag vault with thatch roof (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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