Tuesday, December 07, 2010

What makes a house?

I came across this news story today and it made me smile and got my creativity day-dreaming:

San Diego nonprofit earns global Kudos for school built from trash
Glass bottles that might have polluted ravines are instead embedded in window vaults as glittering adornments of a future vocational school in San Juan Comalapa — a town of 30,000 in rural Guatemala.   Used car tires that could’ve been burned for disposal are packed with dirt, layered like bricks and stand as the structure’s earthquake-proof walls.

Garbage now serves a purpose in the poor, predominantly Mayan area — the vision of leaders with San Diego-based nonprofit group Long Way Home.

“I wanted to do something with a dual purpose: creating jobs while saving the environment,” Long Way Home founder Matt Paneitz said.

The project won third place and a $10,000 prize in the BBC/Newsweek World Challenge, announced Saturday. The contest recognizes grassroots efforts to better communities. Long Way Home’s project was among 800 nominations from 70 countries. (See a video by the BBC on Long Way Home's project here)
Paneitz learned more about sustainable building through books by New Mexico-based design firm Earthship Biotecture. The company has been building with materials such as bottles and tires for four decades.
To read the full article CLICK HERE
To find out more about Long Way Home please CLICK HERE 
I'm particularly interested in the Earthship homes, which are self-sufficient, highly energy-efficient, suitable to any climate homes, built mostly from natural or recycled materials (such as tyres or glass bottles). The name Earthship stems from the ideas of spaceships, which in theory have to be self-sufficient to continue to fly through space, but these are right here on Earth! I really like the idea, not only because it is environmentally friendly and sustainable, not only because it reuses and reduces waste in a constructive and creative manner, but also because it breaks the boundaries of what we call a house or home - it's a completely new approach to what a house should look like, what a home should feel like. I haven't included any pictures, not because I couldn't find any, but because I'd like you to imagine what an Earthship might look like (would you think it would look ugly or beautiful?) and then to go have a look. I think you might be surprised! 
BUT! What makes me even more happy is that there is one very near to me, right here in Scotland! The Earthship Fife is definitely on my list of things to do on the weekend. Unfortunately, that'll have to wait till the New Year now, but will let you know how I got on!

On the subject what a house should look like or how a home should feel like, check out this video from TED by Dan Phillips about Creative Houses from Reclaimed Stuff  - same ideas and concepts running parallel to Earthship homes.

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