Earth ship. I first heard of the word from an American neighbor. The Earth Ship is said to be a house built by a brilliant and rather eccentric American architect, Michael Reynolds. He proposed to build a house out of trash, in a manner which society met with disbelief and ridicule. He designed his house like a cave—with very thick walls—the thickness of which would naturally act as thermoregulator. The house cools the interior during the heat of the day and warms the same during the cold of the night.
Made out of rubbish—hammered plastics, tin cans, mud, used clothes—the proposed house was not received warmly, so much so that the architect set out to build his house in the middle of the desert as perhaps a way to spite the public’s ridicule. Lo and behold! The house did indeed perfom as the architect said it would. The sheer thickness of the walls acted as a thermomass which cooled the house interiors in the middle of the desert. At night the massive walls kept the inside air warm.
There were other environmentally sound specifications as well. The architect designed cisterns which caught enough rainfall to supply the water needs of his household. For his drinking water he made the rainwater pass through a water filter. There was unfiltered rainwater for household cleaning purposes, recycled water for flushing the toilet and black water for draining to the organic farm outside of his home.
The house had no need for air conditioning, heating and commercial water. It even has an indoor and outdoor garden which takes care of the food needs of the homeowners. Come to think of it, the very house itself, being made of waste materials, had no need of expensive traditional construction materials. The house was the very first of its kind ever.
The video featuring the ingenious house design soon went viral over youtube, attracting both critics and fans. Yet what criticism could ever stand up to the solid evidence of environmental soundness and practical frugality the queer house displayed? The architect soon found himself transported across state lines and travelling to as far as Africa to duplicate his different house.
The Earth Ship as it was soon called also proved to be strong enough to withstand flood, earthquakes and fires. Queer no longer, the architect is now revered as a trailblazer among environmentally aware builders. It was a house that fared well in both hot and cold places, a house which could be built on any part of the earth.
I wonder how and when the Earth Ship could be built here in the Philippies. This seems to me to be the answer to the garbage problem, the problem of exorbitantly-priced housing and the food and water shortage problem.
Do check their website out at earthship.com. It’s a joy to watch.
Photo Credit: earthship.com
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