This build was modelled off Earthship Biotecture‘s ‘SIMPLE SURVIVAL MODEL’ Earthship. The home is designed so the everyday human can live a lifestyle that is in harmony with the natural phenomena of planet Earth and beyond. So we took the technology, the understanding, adapted it to the sub-tropical conditions of North Queensland and adjusted it to suit the lifestyle requirements of the couple in which the house was being built for.
We also experimented with applying non-physical intention to a physical application in hope that it would effect the running and live-ability of the home. The intention we set was love. The idea was that if cooking with love can make a meal tastier than a meal cooked out of obligation, then the same should apply to a house.
How we achieved this was by setting the build site up as a learning centre. We offered workshop spaces to people who wanted to learn about biotecture, living in community and basic life skills needed to be a productive member of this planet’s biodiversity. People were living, learning, sleeping, eating, playing and building together.
They were given questions to answer upon applying for the workshop. A couple of example question are:
Explain your idea of what community is
How would you define love and its role in everyday life?
This theme of questioning was put forward to align the entire crew through their core foundation and intention. It worked remarkably well too. People arrived with a feeling of familiarity and belonging. Because we were all operating out of love, this brought forward our truth. Whenever truth is involved, confrontation is inevitable. These challenges gave the individual and the collective the power to confront them and rise beyond them to a place of light and productivity.
There were a few other challenges we faced:
the humidity in the air and the rainfall
the availability of building materials in such a remote location and
the time of year we were building in
We addressed the humidity and rainfall of the area.
This was accomplished by working on orientation, water redirection and using hemp for a lot of the masonry content.
Hempcrete was perfect, it works extremely well with humidity because the fibres absorb and release moisture. This doesn’t allow moisture to become stagnant. The roofs were ferra-hempcrete domes. Through the combination of the geometry of the dome shape and the strength of the hempcrete, we were left with a very strong, extremely insulative hempcrete dome roof that absorbs and releases moisture. It was a great material to work with and we will definitely be using it again in future builds.
The local businesses were not to keen for us to come and take away their scrap tyres because the idea of handing them over was somewhat foreign to them:
“why would they want our rubbish?”
“who are these weird hippies?”
“what would the EPA say?”
“get out of here!” – we heard it all.
Given the short amount of time we had to gather the tyres, we had to travel far and wide to find them. Some places asked us to pay for them, other places gave them to us, other places flat out refused! This was a fun journey to go on. Scavenging for materials is one of the most enjoyable parts of the entire process. You get to meet people from the area, make connections and discover wild and interesting new ways to use the by-products of society.
The build took place during wet season in Queensland. This was not the greatest idea that came out of this experience. Although, as a result it made for a beautiful all round journey.
Nearing the end of the second week of the build, we were hit with a stage 3 cyclone. It tore through the camp site like a fat man with food poisoning, heading for the toilet. The roads out of town were flooded in from all sides. Nothing coming in, nothing going out. What was once countryside, turned into an island. We shuffled 22 people inside of a home that sleeps 7. it was an intimate environment that drew everyone together into solid unity.
We took the second part of every Friday off work to engage in what became known as ‘Fun Fridays’. This kept people engaged for some time. Getting away from being totally immersed in the worksite.
There were activities such as intoxicated canoe adventures, a tour of the local area on an ex-military lark and getting dressed as transvestites for a day at the local lawn bowls.
All the challenges, triumphs, beauty, learning and bonding is what made for an incredible experience, facilitating and building Australia’s first Earthship.