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Photos Of Alternative Buildings & Structures

 
                    
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There are many threads here on the forums about different kinds of alternative structures, many of which I have never seen or even heard of.

I thought it would be inspirational to folks who are considering using alternative building if they could see a gallery full of ideas all in one place.

Please join me in posting cool photos of Alternative Buildings & Structures.

Please inclide a blurb with info. about the structure & a link when appropreate.

D

The first of the two pics here I believe is a stucco out building with a sod roof, but I did not find a caption so I'm guessing.

The second is an Earth Bag structure. Here is a blurb from the site:
Earthbag

Building with earthbags (sometimes called sandbags) is both old and new. Sandbags have long been used, particularly by the military for creating strong, protective barriers, or for flood control. The same reasons that make them useful for these applications carry over to creating housing: the walls are massive and substantial, they resist all kinds of severe weather (or even bullets and bombs), and they can be erected simply and quickly with readily available components. 

The pics here & more info. can be found @ http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/index.htm
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Kathleen Sanderson
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The first picture, I believe, is a straw-bale or cob (pretty sure straw-bale) barn in France. 

It's a good idea, though, posting pictures on one thread.

Kathleen
 
Jami McBride
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Okay - here's a couple more...

I've been collecting these alternative building images for over ten years now.
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Kathleen Sanderson
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Here are a couple of pictures I've saved....

Kathleen
Lattice tree house.jpg
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Cob and underground house.jpg
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Thanks Kathleen, they are all so pretty! Can you tell me about the ones that look like bird nests?

Here are a few pics that I found a Wood Frame/ Earth Bag

Here is the blurb from that gallery:
Natural Building
Colloquium East
   2004 - 2006
Building With Spirit

These photos are from the first four family-friendly Natural Building Colloquium that the PeaceWeavers have (so far) hosted at their 250-acre wildlife sanctuary, the Thunder Mountain Retreat Center, near Bath, New York.


See more HERE: http://www.potkettleblack.com/natbild/building-with-spirit/index.html
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Kathleen Sanderson
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I don't think that anyone could really live in the ones that look like 'birds nests,' but I like them, anyway.  They were made by planting young trees very close together, and weaving them into a lattice, leaving window and door openings.  As they grew, the openings closed up quite a bit, although there are still holes.  There's no roof, although you could probably make one by weaving the stems together as they got longer.  It's just a sort of fun space, like an arbor or gazebo.

Kathleen
 
Jami McBride
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Great pictures.  I too am interested in those interesting forms in the trees.  I wish I could zoom in  to make out more detail.  Thanks for explaining Kathleen.

Here are a couple more familiar classics for this gallery -
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Great Pictures everyone! This is so much fun!

I can't wait to learn more about each type of structure.
 
                    
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This one is Called the Ant Hill, could not find any info. on it though.
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Cyric Mayweather
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Jami McBride wrote:
Great pictures.  I too am interested in those interesting forms in the trees.  I wish I could zoom in  to make out more detail.  Thanks for explaining Kathleen.

Here are a couple more familiar classics for this gallery -


The second Picture
I would dearly love to talk to someone who knows how they built roof for some more detailed info. any ideas folks. ive looked without much success
 
Bill Kearns
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I love #2 and #3, but #1 looks photoshopped.
 
                    
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I am loving this thread!! after looking at these pic how could I ever want a conventional house, inspiring!!


Yes #1 seems photo shopped but I have seen photos of real houses built up against boulders on TV so it can be done.
 
Emerson White
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It's real, I've seen pictures of it from at least 7 different angles and pictures inside of it. Look for it at pixdaus.
 
                    
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Humm, I will have to check it out thanks.
 
                    
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The Hobbit (low impact) House in SW Wales :
The builder says"
"You are looking at pictures of a house I built for our family in Wales. It was built by myself and my father in law with help from passers by and visiting friends. 4 months after starting we were moved in and cosy. I estimate 1000-1500 man hours and £3000 put in to this point. Not really so much in house buying terms (roughly £60/sq m excluding labour).

The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature. "

http://www.simondale.net/house/index.htm
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More Hobbit House:

The roof supports look like a spider web

From the builder:

Some key points of the design and construction:

    * Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
    * Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
    * Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
    * Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
    * Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
    * Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
    * Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
    * Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
    * Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring...)
    * Woodburner for heating - renewable and locally plentiful
    * Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
    * Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
    * Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
    * Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
    * Water by gravity from nearby spring
    * Compost toilet
    * Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.
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Michael Duhl
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Nice thread but I have to say I've seen them all.  Does anyone have any projects out there?  I would like to think that someone would share something they were doing or a part of one, even if its not finished.  Don't mean to seem rash, like I said, I like the thread.
 
Emerson White
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sixnone wrote:
Nice thread but I have to say I've seen them all.  Does anyone have any projects out there?  I would like to think that someone would share something they were doing or a part of one, even if its not finished.  Don't mean to seem rash, like I said, I like the thread.


^That.

I feel like that all the time, something else I'm interested in is monolithic domes. I found a forum (thanks to TCLynx) but it's damn near empty. Some of the videos that Paul has put up have horrible sound quality, but by far and away they are the best things out there, it's a giant case of media starvation.


[size=7pt](p.s. thanks for the videos paul, do some more!)[/size]
 
Dave Miller
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sixnone wrote:
Nice thread but I have to say I've seen them all.  Does anyone have any projects out there?  I would like to think that someone would share something they were doing or a part of one, even if its not finished.  Don't mean to seem rash, like I said, I like the thread.
Well it is not particularly green nor particularly unusual, but here is the tree house that I built in our backyard.  I don't have any decent photos of it but here are a few that I took during an ice storm:



I'll try to get some better photos and add them to this post.

The house is 8'x8' and sits on a 10'x10' platform.  The extra 2' perimeter on two sides is covered with decking boards.  You get up to it by climbing a rope ladder with wooden rungs.  Or you can just walk up the trunk of the tree.

I have a lot of materials (straw bales & lumber) stored under the house right now so it looks ugly underneath.  Those will all be gone by fall.  Also I haven't finished weaving the rope to put under the railing (although the kids prefer it without the rope, so they can sit on the decking with their legs hanging off).

You may have noticed the large horizontal tree trunk in the first photo.  This is a large old english walnut tree (probably 75+ years old) which fell over during an ice storm.  The uphill root broke.  I figured the tree had been killed, so I was making plans for cutting up the tree, but in the spring it came back to life, and has continued to grow well ever since it fell over about 10 years ago.  A horizontal tree makes an awesome play structure for the kids, so they were always up there playing on it.  We got the idea to build a tree house in it, so I sized & shaped the design around the tree branches, and started scavenging materials.  One of the posts is the top half of an old power pole that I salvaged from a ditch (power company accidentally left it behind).  One of the beams is a piece of structural aluminum that I salvaged from another project.   The windows are from our house, when I replaced aluminum windows with vinyl.  The decking is left over Trex decking from a deck project.  The shake roof and half the shake siding is made from shakes that I split myself, from cedar bolts I collected when I was a kid, and also old shakes removed from my parents roof when they had theirs replaced.  I fabricated the door from cedar fence boards (the door is kid-sized).  The house is covered in Tyvek that I found along the roadside (a remnant had fallen off a truck).  The rope ladder is made from beachcombed rope.  I did of course have to buy some lumber, plus all the fasteners.

One corner of the house was originally supported by the tree trunk, but I did not think about the fact that as the tree continues to grow, the weight of growing branches causes the trunk to drop.  Thus after a few years the trunk was about 8" below the corner of the house that it was originally supporting (obviously the remaining posts held the house up fine).   However it was a little wobbly so I added a couple of posts and more bracing.   I still plan to add a few cables to brace it further.

Here is a view of one of the walls of shakes I split myself:


I put an electrical outlet inside with an extension cord plug outside, so I can run an extension cord up there sometimes.  I hung an old string of icicle Christmas lights inside so the kids can play out there at night or have sleepovers, etc.

In the spring & summer you cannot even see the house until you are right underneath it, because it is surrounded by tree branches - you really feel like you are "inside" the tree.  When we hired the permie landscape designer to do a design for the backyard, I offered to set up a table & chair in the tree house so she could work from there, and she did!  You can see the whole backyard from there when the leaves are off.  Here is a photo of my apple tree guild, taken from the tree house when the leaves are just starting to sprout:


I have some mason bee tubes hanging under the eave of the tree house:

In that shot you can see how I made a jog in the wall to go around the big branch in the foreground.

I built the walls & roof in the garage, then took it apart and put it back together up on the platform.  At first I was super careful climbing around on the tree, but after a while you start to feel like spiderman and can jump around in the tree with ease.

On one windy day I did some audio recording up at the treehouse:
http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=62056 (click the little black arrow for a low-quality preview)

Anyway, this was a really fun project that didn't cost much due to all the scavenging I was able to do.  As I said I'll try to get some better photos and add them here.
 
Michael Duhl
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Nice project!  "Ike the mason bee tubes too, even though I have idea what they do.  Ill have to look in to that. 
 
                    
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Thanks adunca  for the great pics!

Here are some images of more alternative structures, yes many of you have seen them but I want to show them off anyway in case someone who is new to this finds them inspirational.

!). Bottle walls sounds like something a quirky eccentric would construct just for fun. In point of fact, the oldest surviving bottle house was constructed out of over 50,000 beer bottles in 1907, due to the lack of lumber available in the deeserts of Nevada.

2). A cardboard house may seem even more implausible than one constructed of beer cans. With the right water-proofing, however, just such a house would be not only sustainable but also exceedingly affordable.
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3).An other of bottle house

4).
Green Luxury: Futuristic Off-the-Grid Forest Home Design
Shaped like some kind of futuristic spaceship, the home is actually designed with the environment strongly in mind

http://dornob.com/green-luxury-futuristic-off-the-grid-forest-home-design/
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Jami McBride wrote:
Okay - here's a couple more...

I've been collecting these alternative building images for over ten years now.


Your second image is-I think-the interior of the self-built home of a professor, just outside of Austin TX. Its built with natural materials from his land and uses 'light straw' for the walls. Beautiful, isn't it?

Dont know where the second one is from, be nice to know--more info please?
Leigh
 
                              
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
Here are a couple of pictures I've saved....

Kathleen


It would be so great if folks posted a web link where they got the photos, or some info on them, or something. I'd love to know where-and what specifically-the second one is.
Leigh
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I can probably find my pictures again, but the ones I posted are just some I've saved on my computer.  Things are really busy here right now, so be patient!

Kathleen
 
                              
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
I can probably find my pictures again, but the ones I posted are just some I've saved on my computer.  Things are really busy here right now, so be patient!

Kathleen


Okay-trust me, I DO understand.

Also, I've got house photos on my own computer I have no idea where I got them... I need to be better about such things myself. ops:
Leigh
 
                              
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And speaking of cool alternative built houses, here's one built by an artist couple. Introducing...  Eliphant Art House


Here is a website, with a 2 page article and slide show  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/garden/31elephante.html?_r=1

and the house website with more pics and info
http://eliphante.org
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And a couple more photos... the place is in Cornville AZ, and was built using materials from the area... its partially underground as you can probably tell from the photos.

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Weird & wonderful ! thanks
 
                              
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And here's some more info-and pics-of the Austin Tx Hobbit House. The builder/owner is Gary Zuker, a staffperson at the University of Texas Austin.

His website-with lots of construction and finished photos...
http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/homepage/staff/Zuker/Gary%20Zuker/

And here is an article...
http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/tag/gary-zuker/

Its made of 'light straw' a Northern Euro ooooold method... Zuker has a couple of pdf's as well as photos, take a look for a brief explanation. Sorta like cob and straw bale combined.
If you do a google search for Gary Zuker Natural Homes, you can probably find the Natural Homes article in a pdf, as well.

and some photos
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Speaking of Tree Houses, here is a young guy-his name is Nick Weston-in the UK who built and lived in a tree house out in the Surry (?) countryside. He has written a book about it, available at Amazon.co.uk, entitle The Tree House Diaries. I'm hoping it includes directions plans and construction photos, because all those seem to be gone from the web.

Anyway, here is his website-pretty cool even without the tree house photos-he talks about fishing and gathering/preparing wild foods etc.  Way cool.

http://huntergathercook.com


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Living the high life The diary of a jobless and disillusioned author who decided to build a tree house in the woods and survive off Mother Nature 3.jpg
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Then there is the young couple-Libby and Tristan-who are doing a lesurely move from Santa Fe NM to somewhere in Mass. In a canvas covered vardo (Gypsy wagon). This one is being pulled by her car, rather than a horse, but they used salvaged materials as much as possible to build it, and are using a solar panel for their small electric demands. And its just plain cool. I think they have gotten to somewhere in Kansas at the last post.

Their website is... http://www.whittleddown.com/

and here are a few pics

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AND here-I think-is the guy you were talking about, who uses recycled, repurposed materials to build small, beautiful homes in Huntsville TX. His name is Dan Phillips, and here's his website-which is ficking wonderful-some instructional pdfs, TONS of photos, a blog AND a forum-which I haven't checked out the forum yet.

Anyways, here is an article with slide show...
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/garden/03recycle.html?_r=2

And Dan's website...
http://phoenixcommotion.com

and some photos...


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Gottcha!
This anthill house along with these floor plans, are the brain child of a guy at...

http://www.balewatch.com

Strawbale house plans and info. Neat site.

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Jami McBride
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Yup, that's the guy Dan Phillips - I had lost my link. 

Thanks for posting the links to him again 
 
                              
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Jami McBride wrote:
Yup, that's the guy Dan Phillips - I had lost my link. 

Thanks for posting the links to him again 


You are more than welcome. I looove shareing info. To be honest, I'm an info junky (snort!)
Leigh
 
After burning through the drip stuff and the french press stuff, Paul has the last, ever, coffee maker. Better living through buying less crap.
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