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DIRT BAGS AND ECO-DOMES

October 26, 2010

Most likely something you haven’t seen before are the earth bag buildings constructed by Cal-Earth, an organization based in the Mojave Desert in California.  One of several organizations involved working with Tribewanted on the John Obey project, Cal-Earth is constructing a dozen small eco-dome structures for living space.

completed eco-domes from another Cal-Earth project

Much like a beehive, these adobe structures are made from synthetic bags packed with earth and spiraled much like you would make a coiled pot from clay.  During my 2 ½ weeks there, I was able to see a great deal of progress on the first building.  Day one was the excavation of the foundation, and of course, the lamb sacrifice.  After the first bag was laid the building quickly began to take shape.  My last week I was there, an entry way and steps began to appear and the floor joists had gone in.  I’ll be excited to see the finished structure completely stuccoed when I return early next year.

Tribewanted's first eco-dome underway

As I was reading Cal-Earth’s website I found it interesting that these buildings are using materials easily found in a war zone- sand bags, barbed wire, earth – making them ideal for countries trying to rebuild post-conflict.  The houses are inexpensive to build, don’t impact natural resources and can meet the demand of the growing housing crisis in developing nations. The domes can be simple in construction or can incorporate arches in doorways, windows and additional rooms.

Hooman Fazly is the resident earth bag specialist overseeing construction of the new homes.  Always armed with a wicked tool belt, and his mudflap girl water bottle, he will be working six days a week for the next year to complete this project.  I admire Hooman’s intelligence, fashion sense on the job and his sense of humor with his crew.  He is quite the character as is evident in the pics. It’s Hooman’s birthday today.  Happy birthday, Hooman!  Hope you are able to celebrate Salone style.

Hooman Fazly with Cal-Earth

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