In the high desert of New Mexico, across the Rio Grande Gorge from Taos, strange buildings peek out of the dusty scrub.
This is the roofline of the building we stayed in: the Phoenix.
An impressive doorway to one of the earthships.
This is the visitor center at the One World Community.
Reynolds is working on several experimental buildings: this is going to be a two-storey duplux.
Walking around One World Community, you see these fantastic rooflines arching out of the desert. Because the earthships are usually half buried in the ground, you don’t really see them until you are pretty close; then they surprise you with their size.
Another of Reynolds’s experimental buildings, this is an attempt at a community living situation which will potentially house more than twenty people.
I was amazed by the interiors of the Earthships. It’s amazing to me that self-sufficient buildings constructed out of mundane materials (used tires, clay, bottles and cans) could be so beautiful.
Fireplace, television, and waterfall…all in one.
The kitchen was very open with a custom refrigerator behind the red doors.
The floors were paved with stones and tiles; the window (south-facing) side of the house is populated with plants and a greenhouse.
Small touches like these light fixtures make the earthships particularly wonderful.
It may have been 90+ degrees outside, but inside it was deliciously cool, and the couches were perfect for a nap.
The bathroom was particularly interesting. In the center of the building, the ceiling was open to the building and two ventilation hatches overhead. Pathways flowed around the bathroom, through the interior jungle plants, which are watered by the bathroom’s gray water.
Across from the sink is this pillar tiled with fragments of mirror.
Bright lights in the walls: these bottles are embedded in the mud and clay that compose the walls, at once beautiful and reducing the amount of adobe needed for construction.
The spacious shower is overhung with plants and riddled with the colorful light that is caught in the bottles embedded in the wall.
A very classy bathroom, mostly composed of re-used materials. Electricity from the sun, and water from the rain.
And of course, any house with such an extensive greenhouse built into it is bound to be beautiful.
This gazebo-like structure sat in the largest part of the greenhouse and was the perfect place for meals.
Tile mosaics cover many of the exposed surfaces.
Yes, those are bananas, growing inside the house.
Kale, chards, tomatoes, peppers, and many other vegatables were growing in the greenhouse, ready for dinner.
Given south-facing windows and plentiful gray water, it’s amazing what you can get to grow indoors.
Beer and statistics…I spent quite a few hours sitting in the greenhouse beneath the leafy cover, listening to the fountain in the Koy pond and the tropical birds that chirpped overhead.
The temperature is regulated by the slant of the windows and air vents.
Tropical plants with exotic shapes were abundant in the greenhouse.
If appearance isn’t enough to get your heart pumping, the Earthships are constructed with many reclaimed materials, from bottles and cans to tires and the metal from old appliances.
Dirt is pounded into the center of these tires with sledgehammers; the resulting wall is very strong.
The artistic possiblities of these bottles are numerous.
Reynolds uses bottles and cans to augment his adobe building materials.
Looking through a vent in the bedroom, you can see what keeps the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter: thermal mass.
If you could make walls that looked like this, wouldn’t you save your bottles? Besides, it’s a great reason to drink more wine and beer.
Airflow is key to the building. It is not uncommon to see vents in interior walls and ceilings.
Even plastic bottles can be used in the walls, creating a very different look from the glass.
This picture of the back hallway of the house shows the foundation wall of tires where it is set into the ground.
At first I didn’t recognize these plastic bottles.
This picture of the roof of our house shows the two large vents that when combined with vents in the front of the building created a splendid draft.
This entry was written by Philip and published on June 29, 2013 at 3:15 am. It’s filed under Art
and tagged Earthships
, Michael Reynolds
, New Mexico
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