Building With Earth: A Guide to Flexible-Form Earthbag Construction

Building With Earth: A Guide to Flexible-Form Earthbag ConstructionAuthor(s): Paulina Wojciechowska

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company; 1st edition (June 1, 2001)

Paperback: 176 pages

ISBN-10: 1890132810

ISBN-13: 978-1890132811

Order From: Amazon.com
(links will open in a new window)

While developers around the globe are looking toward the industrialized United States in hopes of promoting American-style tract houses, shopping malls, and skyscrapers, our country’s pioneering natural builders are looking in the other direction — hearkening back to ancient traditions to create beautiful, affordable, and resilient dwellings of earth.

Building with Earth is the first comprehensive guide to describe the re-emergence of earthen architecture in North America, where adventurous builders are combining timeless forms such as arches, vaults, and domes with modern materials and techniques. Using cheap recycled or salvaged polypropylene tubing or textile grain sacks, even relatively inexperienced builders can construct an essentially tree-free building, from foundation to curved roof.

With ordinary barbed wire between courses for tensile strength, and with beautifully textured earth- and lime-based finish plasters for weather protection, “earthbag” buildings are being used for retreats, studios, and full-time homes in a wide variety of climates and conditions. This book will tell and show readers how to plan and build their own earthen “Superadobe” building.

As do other books on natural building, this takes you back to the future: In rediscovering the origins of traditional architecture, readers are introduced to cutting-edge earth-based techniques now being researched for their potential in building durable dwellings for residence on the moon!

Paulina Wojciechowska was born in Poland and spent her formative years in Afghanistan and India, fascinated by the region’s age-old architecture created by artisan builders. Eventually she entered architecture school at Kingston University in Great Britain. After working in London architectural firms, she traveled to the United States and Mexico to study and work with the “natural,” “alternative” and indigenous building methods and low-cost housing. She apprenticed with master “Superadobe” builder Nader Kahlili at the California Institute of Earth Architecture (Cal-Earth) as well as with straw-bale building pioneers Athena and Bill Steen at the Canelo Project.

She is the founder of the nonprofit trust Earth, Hands & Houses, which supports building projects that empower indigenous people around the world to build their own shelter from materials that are naturally available to them. Wojciechowska lives in Byfleet, England.

paper : 8″ x 10″ : 200 pages 100 b&w photos : 180 illustrations charts and tables : bibliography : index