There have been several hits on a Global Model Earthship being built for a Taos family who was displaced after losing their home in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Last year, we had 35 students and several crew members begin the tire pounding and within a week’s time were able to complete the 9 courses of the main structural tire wall. The Bilal family has been in Taos since that time and have been the focus of our local humanitarian effort.
Since last spring, Earthship Biotecture has donated time and labor working with our interns, Academy students and various high school groups towards enclosing and eventually finishing the Bilal family’s Earthship. Several groups have worked with us over the year to pack out the back tire wall creating more support and preparing for the roof to go on.
This recent Academy led by Earthship foremen, Phil Basehart and Rory Morlan, spent a week doing another hit on the building with the goal to soon enclose the structure. The greenhouse framing was built and installed which works with the concrete bond beam to support the vigas. The bond beam on the top course of tires was built with can-brick walls and poured with concrete during one of our previous hits. Last week, the students put on the plating using Trex and pine wood for the vigas to be set on top of, anchoring into then bolts that extend out up from bond beam. Vigas were then craned up and placed appropriately by hand to act as the roofing support. Two rows of can work running up from the bond beam now encase conventional Batt insulation creating a thermal break between the interior and exterior. This functions to maintain a comfortable temperate in the home year round. Decking and papering was done to stage for the next hit which will apply 8 inches of rigid insulation.
Interior mechanical walls were also built and set inside to later house the components needed for Earthship’s unique water and power systems. Interior footings were poured with non-structural can walls serving as a partition between rooms.
Over the years, Earthship Biotecture has been involved in rebuilding sustainable structures in disaster relief and humanitarian efforts all around the world. We are pleased to be able to continue these efforts locally with our volunteers and integrating this into our Academy program. We are rewarded by seeing the progression of this building for a family here in our headquarters’ hometown.
Earthship Biotecture would like to thank all of our students and volunteers who have participated in this effort, our crew who has donated time for this project, our office staff who have helped to facilitate and organize volunteers to work and be a part of this project and the Bilal family for hosting our crew and volunteers.
Special thanks to Bin Bilal for being instrumental in connecting the University of New Mexico with Earthship Biotecture. This partnership has led to the first college credit course in Earthships this spring. We look forward to a successful second session in Introduction to Earthships this fall.
Photos by Pauline Fabry and John Seften.
For more information about our Academy program here in Taos, please visit www.earthship.com/academy.
Dates for upcoming Academy sessions for 2014:
Session 3: May 19th – June 27th
Session 4: August 25th – October 3rd
Session 5: October 13th – November 7th
To get involved with our humanitarian or relief projects, please keep posted on www.earthship.com.
Introduction to Earthships – UNM