The Great Wall of Ushuaia

Robert Hirsch

In February of this year, following the one month Academy build of the Earthship (Nave Tierra) in Ushuaia, the municipality of Ushuaia requested that Earthship Biotecture organize a small crew to stay on and construct a giant tire retaining wall (muro de contencion) at the swimming complex at Andorra, a suburb of the city. The wall was needed to stabilize a 100 meter long embankment beside a high dirt road paralleling the sports facility. Mike planned out the base and batter (3″) for the tire work, and I (USA), Kimi Grum (Argentina) and Andressa Malaga (Brazil) had 1 week to organize the tools, tires and people. Guillermo Worman, from the municipality, was the go-to guy for all our needs. He was essential at keeping the project running on schedule. So with the 3 of us from EB and about 10 academy students, a few friends of students and 15 or so hired local workers we built The Great Wall of Ushuaia.

It took 3 weeks and about 1700 tires. The wall is in 2 parts, one 13 courses high, the other 15 courses, totaling 100 meters in length, split by a high pedestrian bridge where water drainage occurs. We put a huge dent in their tire pile at the recycling center. The bottom course is semi-truck tires and we managed to use up all of their tires from sizes 265 through 205, with the top course at 195. Finally we packed out with a couple of cubic meters of cement and capped off the top tires as well. We hope they plant ivy at the base and let it climb up the wall. That would look awesome. So a big thanks to everyone who worked so hard on this project. I know we’re all extremely proud of the result.

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