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Posts Tagged ‘home design’

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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Rainwater Towers Apartments (click to enlarge)

Rainwater Towers Apartments (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Three 16′ interior diameter roundhouses, total 660 sq. ft. interior, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 39′ x 43′

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 directed to underground cisterns, which reduces demand on city water supplies. Each apartment is accessible by a spiral staircase in the front tower. Features include spacious 201 sq. ft. bedroom with large closet, modern kitchen 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 floorplan (click to enlarge)

Rainwater Towers Apartments floorplan (click to enlarge)

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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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Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)


Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Lodge with Domes (click to enlarge)


Specifications: Lodge = 800 sq. ft. interior, 19’ interior DIA master bedroom dome plus loft = 452 sq. ft., two 16’ interior DIA bedrooms plus lofts = 600 sq. ft., one 16’ interior DIA bath/mechanical dome = 201 sq. ft., two baths, total = 2,053 sq. ft., Footprint: 62′ x 66′

Description: A first of its kind earthbag home that captures the timeless and magical appeal of earth sheltering in the round. Based on ancient Native American designs, this modern earth lodge with living roof will keep you cozy and warm even in the harshest climates, because it is compact, earth-sheltered and superinsulated. Heating options include wood heating and/or radiant floor heat. The lodge ceiling is exposed wood poles. South and east-facing windows and skylight over the kitchen ensure ample daylighting in the lodge. Mechanical and bedroom domes are attached with earthbag vaults.

Earthbag Lodge with Domes floorplan (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Lodge with Domes floorplan (click to enlarge)

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Three Roundhouses Design (click to enlarge)

Three Roundhouses Design (click to enlarge)


This plan illustrates what I think 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. I’ve talked about this a lot on our blog, but this is my first plan designed specifically for building in stages. This is becoming one of my favorites. What do you think?

The Three Roundhouses design combines:
Hobbit House (starter house in this design): 471 sq. ft. interior, optional 471 sq. ft. loft, one bedroom, one bath, Footprint: 27′-6″ diameter
Roundhouse Studio (master bedroom in this design): 177 sq. ft. interior, fold-out bed, 1 bath, Footprint: 18′ diameter, plus buttress
33’ (10m) Roundhouse: 855 sq. ft. interior, 1 bedroom, 1 bath, Footprint: 36′ diameter
Total living space: 1,503 sq. ft. interior

Three Roundhouses Design (click to enlarge)

Three Roundhouses Design (click to enlarge)


Related:
The Most Bang for the Buck? Part 1
What’s the Easiest Shape to Build?

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Earthbag Dome Fort (click to enlarge)

Earthbag Dome Fort (click to enlarge)


The Dome Fort is my latest castle design. At 100’ x 112’, the 10’ high by 3’ thick (at the base) fortified walls enclose 9,964 square feet.

The Dome Fort showcases individual designs and combines them into a self sustaining, fortified homestead, where a group of 5-20 people could weather economic and social upheaval. This is a concept drawing that does not show every possible type of defense. Custom designs can be created to meet your needs.

Structures include:
Roundhouse/Dome Cluster 1,330 sq. ft. interior
2 Fortress Towers 1,717 sq. ft. interior each
Castle Tower House above Survival Shelter 880 sq. ft. interior
Carriage House with second story garage apartment 806 sq. ft. interior
2 Round Guard Towers 227 sq. ft. interior each, plus roof deck
Observation Tower 313 sq. ft. interior, plus roof deck

I’ll be glad to discuss all details, including the below grade structures (not shown), with serious clients who hire me at my hourly consulting fee. All plans can be modified for a modest fee. Send inquires to: strawhouses [at] yahoo.com.

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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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Fortress Tower (click to enlarge)

Fortress Tower (click to enlarge)


This is nearly the same design as my 33’ (10m) 2-bedroom Roundhouse except the roof. The walls have a slight taper to create a castle appearance for the Dome Fort I’m currently designing. In addition, a second floor with slot windows has been added.

Specifications: 855 sq. ft. interior, 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 855 sq. ft. upper floor, total = 1,717 sq. ft. interior, plus roof deck, Footprint: 36′ diameter

Description: 10 meters (33’) diameter is the maximum size of a round earthbag structure before needing buttressing (unless you use reinforced earthbags). This spacious design features a large master bedroom with desk and walk-in closet, efficient kitchen and south-facing window wall for excellent solar gain.

Fortress Tower (click to enlarge)

Fortress Tower (click to enlarge)

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Disaster-resistant hemispheric dome made with double ferrocement shells with insulating fill (click to enlarge)

Disaster-resistant hemispheric dome made with double ferrocement shells with insulating fill (click to enlarge)


This 20′ interior diameter, 314 sq. ft. design is my proposed solution for houses that need to withstand repeat hurricanes. See How to Build the Strongest Buildings That Can Last Centuries for more details. Features include: lexan windows with removable window and door shutters, monolithic geopolymer slab floor that’s integrated with the walls, build on high ground, plastic mesh that won’t rust, geopolymer plaster both sides, geopolymer pumicecrete or geopolymer perlite fill. Integrating the slab and dome and building on a rubble trench is ideal for seismic zones. In an earthquake, the building would slide back and forth somewhat like an upside down cereal bowl on a kitchen table (meaning the whole house remains intact as one shell).

The design will have to be tweaked for individual homeowner needs, and some details worked out with the engineer. Note how a woodstove is shown to reach a wider audience, even though it’s probably not needed in Florida. The woodstove could be replaced with an emergency water storage and filtration system, etc. A fold-out bed saves space. Please email me and we’ll work out the details to fit your needs.

Disaster-resistant hemispheric dome made with double ferrocement shells with insulating fill (click to enlarge)

Disaster-resistant hemispheric dome made with double ferrocement shells with insulating fill (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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