Over the last few weeks I've been reading Christopher Alexander's classic book A Pattern Language. By the time you get to the end of the book you realize he is a big fan of light weight concrete. In the same time I also discovered papercrete when paging through Rural studio's projects. The site appears to be down at the moment, but the house that got my attention was the Christine House, previously at this link http://cadc.auburn.edu/soa/rural-studio/Default.aspx?path=Gallery/Projects/2005/christinepapercretehouse/ After doing a bit of research the best general site on papercrete seems to be http://www.livinginpaper.com I really like how they used many different sizes of blocks for the Christine home and made it appear like stone from first glance. I like papercrete's insulating qualities and the fact that you can dry stack the blocks and then use more papercrete as the surface bond cement. Has anyone played with papercrete, either in dry stack or the Pattern Language style structures?
yep and i would not do it again unless i had no other options.
paper create is fun stuff the crete bit on the other hand sucks. i am not prone to crete rash or lung problems but the work on a paper crete house brought both out in spades.
every one who does good natural building uses a pattern language if they are drawing up there own stuff its almost a requirement.
one essential you might track in the book is that almost every structure that has stood the test of time (300 years or more) is on the golden mean. from windows to door sizes, the only other common element is The Fibonacci sequence. (I would also discount the public structures like cathedrals and forts because by definition they have immortal care takers)
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A pattern Language is the finest book I know of on architecture, though as I recall there is little in it about underground houses. I've probably read it through four or five times. Christopher Alexander is only one of its six or so authors. I had the pleasure of taking one of the others, Sarah somebody, I think, a mostly oriental lady, to lunch on Telegraph avenue, Berkeley, thirty years ago to a restaurant that served nothing but wonderful, huge salads. To both Sarah's and the restaurant's credit they said nothing about my bare feet (shoes are the work of Satin!!).
A Pattern Language is on my wish list at Amazon....
I've thought about papercrete, but not being terribly mechanical, was put off by the need to build a machine to make the stuff. What Ernie said about it is another turn-off. I think I'll stick with PSP or cob.
I wonder how cob would do underground, if it was kept dry?
My partner and I built a house out of tires and papercrete. We started with a free mobile home (12' by 55') and built two, 6' by 55' additions along the sides (we made the additions on a foundation of packed tires and poured 12" thick, papercrete walls on top of the that foundation) and then peeled the mobile home sides off to open the whole home which is now 24' wide by 55' long. We have a greenhouse made of used sliding glass doors at the south facing end and the whole thing is covered by metal roofing from a scrap yard. We are about to make our own solar panels from parts on eBay and a wind turbine from PVC pipe. We We made our papercrete mixer out of a 55 gallon, galvanized tub sitting under a drill press. I attached a food processing blade on a metal rod and inserted it into the chuck. It wasn't one of those massive mixers you often see because we didn't have the space to use one of those. BTW, we are both women, 55 and 56 years old. http://www.builtfromtrash.com[/url
Holy Scrap Hot Springs does papercrete in an interesting way: re-bar truss through the thickness of the wall, a skin of re-mesh defining the inside and outside surfaces of the wall, and lath layered outside the re-mesh. The whole structure is filled with papercrete via a pump, and a trowel is used to apply a surface finish inside & out.
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I'm building a greenhouse right now with papecrete as the infilling of the walls. I made many bricks last summer and go a feel for the mix I wanted. I'm using it for maxi R values since I live where it is very cold. I'm doing like a slip form slowly pouring into the walls all the way around. I like the fact that it is very fire resistant and nor bug or mice like to get into it. The walls will have about R36 but also be very draft free and no bridging. The greenhouse house is 20ft by 36ft.