I enjoy looking at alternative, different housing, this is pretty different, both in the materials, design and building methods. I ran across this on FaceBook and had to dig further to find out more about it.
The concept is really simple, dig a pit, insert bales of straw for the center of the structure, then pour concrete around the outside of it, remove the dirt from the outside and the straw from the middle. I said it was simple, I never said it was easy.
I don’t believe most of us would employ this method of building, though it does look interesting. As I watched the video, my main thought was I would insist on having some sort of structural reinforcement in the roof, cement is strong under compression but weak in tension… I just wouldn’t trust that roof to stay up all by itself.
Upon looking at the individual pictures, I could see that they did use reinforcement wire across the roof area (whew!), I was greatly relieved to see that.
This appears to be something of a guest house, or perhaps something like a weekend getaway, it doesn’t look like a place where someone would live full time, and on top of that, with the toilet facilities the way they are, you’d better be staying by yourself or with someone you are really REALLY close with.
One thing I see that will become a problem at some point in the future is the fireplace, unless they used a heat resistant cement mix, the heat from the fireplace will eventually cause the concrete to fail there, perhaps an insert of some sort to protect the concrete would be in order before that happens.
I wouldn’t want to live in something like this, it has potential for other uses, like a root cellar dug into the side of a hill, a storm shelter, instead of using straw as the temporary innards, I would use dirt and allow the natural dome shape as a way to strengthen the whole thing, after pouring the concrete and allowing it to set, then you can dig out the dirt…
Here is the video and the link to the website will be below that, enjoy!
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