If you read my article on building an intentional community, you’ll see that I am strongly recommending bypassing the traditional mortgage path and promoting build-it-yourself, alternative housing. I have shared a few posts on some of the alternative housing options, but I thought it would be fun to give a brief overview of the more common (of the overall uncommon) alternative housing options that are available today.
Obviously, the photos in this article are just a sampling of what exists and what is possible. These photos are meant to give a general sense of what a building style looks like.
As I started to put this article together, I realized it was going to be photo intensive. I decided to break it up into a few parts.
- Part one covers Adobe, Earthbag, SuperAdobe, and Cob Homes.
- Part two covers Straw-Bale, Earthship, Earth-Sheltered, and Cordwood Homes.
- Part three covers Geodesic Domes, Wood Pallet Homes, Shipping Container Homes, Yurts, and Hexayurts
I will start with Adobe, Earthbag, Superadobe, Cob, and Rammed Earth housing.
Adobe: Sand, clay, an organic component (straw, sticks, and/or manure, etc.) are mixed with water, then placed in a form to produce bricks or blocks which are then sun-dried and then used as a building material. One of the oldest building techniques. Very resistant to fire damage and wind. Susceptible to earthquakes.
Earthbag: A sack filled with earth is stacked like bricks. Barbed wire and/or rebar is often used to increase between bag friction and stability. The structure is finished with plaster, stucco, or adobe.
Superadobe: This is a variation of earthbag construction. It uses long tubes filled with adobe and layered as in other earthbag construction.
Cob: Very similar to adobe. Instead of making bricks, the mixture (sand, clay, straw, and water) is set in place to form walls. Kind of like building a house out of potter’s clay. Very resistant to fire damage, wind, and earthquakes. Only sitting water is an issue, as these structures were/are common in the wet, British and Pacific Northwest climates.
Rammed Earth: A form for a wall is built and wet earth, chalk, lime, gravel, and/or cement or other materials are added inside the form. The wall is tamped (or rammed) down, layer by layer, until a wall is built. Walls are very strong and fire resistant.Subscribe to TCPermaculture.com and receive updates whenever a new article is posted!