This project is a really great story. I would love to see more pictures and get more details about how you have done this!!! You are living the same dream that I have, I hope that you have all that you could hope to have with a home like this...WOW!!!
Zac, This is wonderful! I had dreamed for years of what kind of sustainable living space I might build, and immediately felt I'd found THE ANSWER when I found and read Mike's books and then, DVDs.
I am in the very first stage, have started excavating the uphill patio. My question is, your site being in MO, at least we're in the middle Midwest -South (I'm in S Central KY). Though I'm 500 feet above sea level, I'm getting some groundwater accumulation.
What do you, or others, think about design modifications to Oehler's main plan to make it work? (Without concrete pref.). I consider leaving the lowest level as a gravel pit, put in drain pipes from the bottom. Keep my living level the step above and, if I need to, have the roof start above the existing ground level. Shed roof slanted per Oehler design. My footprint is a basic 16' square, much smaller than yours, one level.
Hello, my family is also in MO and we were thinking about building an earth-berm/underground/wofati house. I wanted to know how everything was holding up all these years later. Also, when you shifted who was posting towards the beginning, those pictures are no longer showing up.
Zac, are you still around? I’m looking to build wofati/Oehler style too in SW Missouri, seems many are interested in updates...
Been reading my way through the 214ish pages on Glen Kangiser’s underground house too, bit by bit, over on countryplansDOTcom. At 50, this now looks like a great style for long term/retirement and something to pass on to the kids.
I try to follow all the threads I can on here about u-houses, wofatis, RMHs, meat animals, etc. let’s keep any updates or new projects boosted up and expose others to them... lol ;-) Leif
My thought is the idea of building the structure to be underground did not work out and Zac went a different direction, perhaps completing the build as an above ground structure? I say this as my recent discovery of and interest in this thread primarily in regards to aspects of water intrusion and longevity of underground builds, was to inform my own projects. Looking at all of his great pictures I had a couple of questions regarding the project that came to mind including wondering if the earthwork had created a bowl into which water would flow over time from surrounding terrain. My thinking on underground roundwood structures was that they need to be sited so water naturally flows away (duh), regardless of any impermeable layers on top. Also from the pictures I wondered if the walls could withstand lateral pressure when the outside was infilled with earth. Lastly, the structure rises above the surrounding site, seeming to belay it being able to be underground entirely. Where would the soil to cover an over 3,000 square foot structure that rises 10 or more foot above ground come from? That would be an enormous mound of earth to achieve any reasonable insulation from the elements. The build started in 2010-2011 and reading through the thread my hope was the last page of the thread would include photos of the at least partially buried structure and interior shots of a livable structure.
If I was Zac at the point he stopped posting, and assuming my thoughts on issues with the site I outline above bore out, my thinking is I would grade the area around the structure to reduce water flow towards the structures foundation. Missouri, especially the area around Zac has been subject to some very substantial rain events in the last few years and the expectation that will be come a regular event may have been the final straw. In any event Zac should revisit his thread and give everyone closure on how things worked out.
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