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Archive for the ‘Vaults’ Category

Bonita Domes by United Earth Builders (click to enlarge)

Bonita Domes by United Earth Builders (click to enlarge)


Earthbag vaults by United Earth Builders (click to enlarge)

Earthbag vaults by United Earth Builders (click to enlarge)


“I would like to announce the United Earth Builders 10 day intensive workshop beginning in April! Located in Joshua Tree we will be teaching attendees how to build a standard 8′ earthbag dome and a retaining wall.

Participants in this workshop will be led through a series of intellectual, cognitive, and physical exercises that seek to strengthen mind-body connections to both the technical processes, as well as the creative processes underlying the art and skill of earthbag design and construction. From structural principles and design, soil practicum and on-site planning this 10-day workshop will supply the attendee with full confidence in the building process and instill a renewed sense of community through building with the earth.

About
Our mission, duty and purpose is to provide educational and charitable services in regard to environmentally sustainable, affordable, and structurally sound sandbag homes with the intent to help relieve poverty by improving living conditions globally.

Mission
United Earth Builders mission, duty and purpose is to empower and instill confidence in people by providing educational and charitable services in regard to environmentally sustainable, artfully designed and truly organic homes that compliment Nature.

What guides us:
We seek to make a more positive world by turning up good music, playing with earth bag structures and teaching the techniques to anyone and everyone, smiling and laughing as we do it!

Rehabilitate ourselves through honest play and an ethical, moral and high spirited team of builders. The Golden Rule is our life and collaboration works for everyone.

What We Provide:
Experienced-based-learning – workshops that provide you will a wholesome curriculum and full hands-on building experience.
Collaborative community beautification projects; with local non-profits and community leaders; in order to provide a tool to combat community deterioration and help improve race and ethnic relations, lessening neighborhood tensions.
Fund raise in order to attain seismic shake table testing; a key factor for providing the public with a record of proof to show the International Code Council (ICC) that sandbag homes are a viable and safe option for global deployment.

Hands-on training
We provide local, national and global communities with the ability to design and build adequate housing using the most abundant resource on the planet.”

Source: United Earthbuilders on Facebook
United Earth Builders.com

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Here is the latest installment of a series of videos that Doctor Dirtbag has uploaded to his YouTube Channel. You can find the other equally informative videos on his channel.

This is what he says about it: “West wall is done, but I’m waiting for the weather to warm up so I can plaster it. I was going to wait until the plaster was on to upload this vid, but too many requests for another video have forced my hand. Here it is in it’s unfinished glory… hope you enjoy. Music is Just For Now by Imogen Heap”

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Flying Concrete ferrocement house

Flying Concrete ferrocement house


Ferrocement is resource efficient because it uses minimal rebar and concrete to produce ‘thin shell’ structures. The resulting curved members are somewhat similar to trees and plants. This is the opposite of straight concrete walls that rely on massive thickness to gain strength (and cost way more money).

One of the best sites for learning about ferrocement is Steve Kornher’s Flying Concrete website. Steve has gone to great lengths to provide lots of photos and detailed information about ferrocement.

Ferrocement can be used to create many things, including boats, cisterns, stairs, and roofs on earthbag domes and earthbag vaults.

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The 'Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit' (SUDU) uses timbrel vaults, and is constructed with only soil and stone.

The 'Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit' (SUDU) uses timbrel vaults, and is constructed with only soil and stone.


Timbrel vaults offer another low cost, sustainable roof building method. This method is suitable for do-it-yourself owner builders if you do the research. Suggestions include: use a simple design with a reinforced concrete bond beam and modest spans. Look into using low-fired, lightweight brick like the type used in Mexico and SE Asia.

“The ‘Sustainable Urban Dwelling Unit’ (SUDU) in Ethiopia demonstrates that it is possible to construct multi-story buildings using only soil and stone. By combining timbrel vaults and compressed earth blocks, there is no need for steel, reinforced concrete or even wood to support floors, ceilings and roofs. The SUDU could be a game-changer for African cities, where population grows fast and building materials are scarce.”

Source: No Tech Magazine (This site has hundreds of great articles on low cost living and building!)

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The Nubian vault is an African technique for the construction of timberless vaulted roofs. The AVN (Association la Voute Nubienne), through its Program ’Earth roofs in the Sahel’, helps provide families in sub-Saharan Africa with comfortable, sustainable, affordable, homes.

In a recent Newsletter from this organization, I was impressed by the statistics they provided regarding the impacts of their program:

Since the start of the program, 1309 vaults have been built by Nubian vault masons and entrepreneurs, for 533 clients, in 244 locations (villages, hamlets, towns) in 5 countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Zambia, and Madagascar). If all the vaults built were to be placed end-to-end, this would reach a total length of 9.7 km.

In total, 214  masons have been trained, of whom half are at the foreman and/or entrepreneur level ; and there are currently 296 apprentices in training.

10,000 people use, live in, or sleep in Nubian Vault buildings; of the total built, 85% are for private houses, and 15% are community-use buildings.

Approximately 18,000 trees, 25,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent, and approximately 15,000 corrugated iron roofing sheets have been saved as a result of NV construction, as compared to the alternatives.

Approximately 750,000 Euros of local economic impacts have been generated by the program.

Since 2000 the program has experienced an average annual growth rate of 36%.

We at www.earthbagbuilding.com have been cautious about recommending the construction of vaulted roofs using earthbags because of issues with stability. Using small and solid brick units for construction does make this sort of vault possible. I would still be cautious in suggesting that people follow the lead of Nubian Vault construction in climates where there is any danger of moisture soaking into the mud bricks and causing the vaulted roof to fail. But in sub-Saharan Africa this is obviously a very viable alternative to other roof systems. In wetter climates, the use of fired or otherwise stabilized bricks is also possible.

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Darfur Hospital

Darfur Hospital


“A permaculture “living system” designed by architect Mishou Sanchez of (Transform Design Group) for The American Sudanese Partnerships to be constructed by using the SuperAdobe method of construction (Nader Khalili, CalEarth) which integrates The Permaculture Research Institutes’ method of desert gardening for humanitarian relief in Darfur, Sudan.

The plan and volumes are straightforward, because I kept asking myself: Why offer starving refugees stiletto heels in the desert? In this challenge, it was not about developing the most exciting formal design, but rather the most effective use of resources to help facilitate survival. The entire self-sustainable system was designed to protect its inhabitants from attackers, utilize/harvest all resources possible, develop an easily taught design that could be built in any desert location by airlifting uncut sandbags and provide food.

Utilizing the basic principals of structure and geometry, the final master plan is circular and is reinforced by radial perpendicular walls. These perpendicular walls are angled slightly outwards and followed by a trench. This detail was developed in efforts to keep out the bulldozers that are often used to destroy refugee camps.
In the center of the master plan is a network of partially submersed domes that offer a safer location for the inhabitants in case of an attack. There is a conical grade in the interior of the camp which is utilized to collect any/all water for the garden which lies on the perimeter of the plan. The garden area offers re-enforcement for the exterior protective walls as well as an opportunity to retain water year-round, process human waste into fertilizer for the plants and produce food/shade.”

Source: Permaculture Research Institute of Australia

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For several years, Kelly and I have been filtering all the best earthbag content from the Web, writing extensively on all aspects of earthbag building and organizing the information for readers. There’s now an enormous amount of information available – so much that it’s difficult to keep up with everything. That’s one reason why our sites are helpful. We gather the best information so you don’t have to spend endless hours looking for it, wasting time clicking through low quality sites, blurry videos, etc. No one else has anything close to this amount of content. Below are just a few links from EarthbagBuilding.com (the mothership) and our Earthbag Building Blog. Also note how we strive to keep all these pages up to date so readers aren’t faced with a bunch of broken links. (And it’s free.)

Earthbag Projects and Pictures
Earthbag Videos
Earthbag Articles
Earthbag Testing
Earthbag Blogs (recently updated and expanded to include earthbag blogs in Spanish)

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