left, the Natural Building workshop comes to a close, and The Roundhouse Gang poses for
celebration, having accomplished a good, solid work and a valuable asset to The Farm ETC community.
2. earthbags, formed by simply filling fiberglass bags with available earth (or sand, or even durable recyclables), then are stacked by a few rows atop this foundation, all around the structure. in addition, bags form the majority of the structure’s back walls for strength and moisture impermeability:
The Farm ETC is located in rural Tennessee, USA, and has been a mainstay of permaculture, natural living and soft-
here we see a project utilizing a few examples of (green) natural building technology in the same structure, both as an experiment to observe the benefits and possible pitfalls of combining techniques, and to take advantage of material properties where they are needed.
let’s walk you through the construction process-
1. rubble trench foundation is created by digging a 2 foot deep trench, and filling it in with rocks and durable debris, or rubble. this is done to prevent groundwater seepage into the structure’s walls, and to facilitate an aerated-
3. strawbales then are stacked atop the earthbags, to complete the wall structure:
4. cob mix (clay, sand, straw) is then used as a sheathing plaster, to cover over the combination of strawbale-
5. electric and utilities are run into the structure before completing the wall plastering, with electric fixturing and receptacles easily cut into the cob or strawbales. extra care and caution must be taken with electrical insulation, and to ensure no future water seepage will cause damage. conduits or waterproof wire sheathing are also required for this reason.
6. roofing is normally installed-
the roof structure begins with roundpole roofing joists (from trees on-
7. roof finishing details. the final roofing layer is vegetated, covering the layer of oak lap pictured above. manufactured sheets of thick EPDM are purchased to cover the oak boards as waterproofing. discarded sheets of recycled carpeting sandwich the EPDM on top and underneath as protection. the vegetation begins with a generous layer of topsoil, which is finally covered by grass sod.
The Roundhouse is eventually joined by Gandalph the Furious, the turf-
The Roundhouse is an example of a rough application of green building methods, perhaps not appropriate stylewise for side-
suitable as a lodging or gathering space for rural communities, this structure is designed for a superior thermal and accoustic performance overall, as compared to normal code-
summers are cool and an adequate heat retention allows for lowered heating fuel needs in winters. an existing greenhouse has been integrated to the back end of the roundhouse which also provides thermic advantages;
with a small woodstove or earth oven planted inside the greenhouse, greenhouse flora and ambient air are heated in the cold months, thereby extending the growing season. the roundhouse interior can thus be gifted occasionally with a welcome wafting of warm, moist air as an opened door to the greenhouse allows this nearly closed-
*Green Rant: building codes have been a real pain in the butt for natural and conventional builders alike, around the planet. as Big Construction hustles to throttle green building practices in favor of industry-
unless of course, one plays away-
having said that, the official opinion of SimPL is that all natural builders and “artectural” practitioners everywhere have the expressed responsibility to keep their respective technologies and lives in trade meaningful and vibrant, by investigating all possible inroads to natural-
after all, the Universe favors the bold.