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Posts Tagged ‘Earthen Hand’

PAHS hyperadobe earthbag house by Earthen Hand Natural Building (click to enlarge)

PAHS hyperadobe earthbag house by Earthen Hand Natural Building (click to enlarge)


“Earthen Hand Natural Building recently has created an 800 sf earthbag house on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Passive Annual Heat Storage (PAHS) design features were used in this building, giving it the ability to heat and cool itself passively using the earth beneath the building and the walls themselves as a battery of heat. This technique has been around a long time and has produced some amazing results. This building will also incorporate a south-facing greenhouse, greywater system, and solar.

A standard rubble trench foundation with gravel-filled poly bags was used, and the mesh bags or ‘hyperadobe’ were used in the majority of the wall. We used individual bags and not continuous bag on this project. These bags are similar to onion bags and they allow the fill to squish out of the tiny holes so that the clay of one bag sticks to the others around it with considerable strength. The hyperadobe technique eliminates the need for using barb wire, and instead we added borax-soaked bamboo stakes in every bag for earthquake insurance.

PAHS design involves the addition of sloping underground sheets of plastic diverting all water away from the base of the building, which keeps the soil around and under the building dry. Because it is dry we can store the excess summertime heat in the soil to be released in winter. Two air tubes wind underneath the berm that is built around the house. The air is moved by convection and the tubes bring in cool fresh air in the summer and warm fresh air in the winter.”

PAHS Principles Explained
PAHS Earthbag House

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Earthbag cabin in Portland, Oregon, built by Scott Howard of Earthen Hand Natural Building

Earthbag cabin in Portland, Oregon, built by Scott Howard of Earthen Hand Natural Building


Scott Howard of Earthen Hand Natural Building does it again! This earthbag cabin in Portland, Oregon was “built mostly during a workshop series in summer 2009. We had a lot of fun with building this house.” Click the link to see more pics. I think roundhouses are the simplest earthbag structures to build, and I predict this cabin will spawn a lot of imitations. (I mean that in a good way.)

Visit their 2011 Workshop page if you’re looking for a quality earthbag workshop.

Here’s a good pic of the earthbag cabin under construction.

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Scott Howard of Earthen Hand has a new video about the dome they built in Thailand in 2004. This is one of the most impressive earthbag structures ever built.

Earthen Hand YouTube channel
Earthen Hand website

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Earthen Hand Dome in Mali

Earthen Hand Dome in Mali


Scott Howard organized a workshop in Dogon Country, Mali, last winter. He built this unique dome with the help of workshop participants and some of the villagers there. The majority of the structure was completed during the two week-long workshop. It is a catenary arc about 16.5 feet tall with a loft. Serving as a library for many villages in the area, it is the first earthbag dome in Mali. Earthen Hand natural building offers a variety of international workshops these days.

I found the above photo in Scott Howard’s article A Wholly Different Way of Building at the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia website. Scott raises a lot of questions in this fascinating article on the best ways to waterproof earthen domes.

Photo credit: Earthen Hand

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