Here’s a quaint earthbag dome that Owen designed and built. In a place with moderate earth temperatures, such a structure would stay effortlessly comfortable year-round. Something like this, being under grade with a small wind profile, would also be ideal for surviving any level of tropical storm–of course you’d want to build it high and dry! Some of the other advantages of this type of building:
- Very little wood required since the vast majority of the structure is earth.
- Quick construction time since it’s so small. For a living structure/tiny house, you’d probably want to make the inner diameter at least 10 to 12 feet. With a corbelled dome, the kind you can build with earthbags, it will be as tall as it is wide. It’s fairly unusual to see one 20′ wide because it also would need to be 20′ high! Of course having some extra head room can be good. Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer, the authors of Earthbag Building: The Tools, Tricks, and Techniques (my affiliate link), built a loft into the top of the Honey House, making excellent use of that extra vertical space.
- Entirely fireproof, except perhaps for the wood overhang. If that was covered with enough earth or one of the reflective shields you can purchase, there would be no chance of it burning down.
- As humanity gets crazier and more detached from reality, being underground looks better all of the time!
Owen graciously shared so much of his knowledge for free. Kelly Hart generously still also makes many free plans available, click here for the list. If you’ve ever had the ambition to own some of Owen’s premium house plans, right now is a terrific time to do so as Kelly Hart has authorized me to sell Owen’s plans at a 20% total discount! Just use coupon code SOLSTICE10 when you check out from our store.
I encourage most folks to start with a small project such as this dome to get their feet wet before jumping in the deep end. One can also build a larger structure in stages, finishing one section and adding on as resources allow.
Thank you for reading and supporting natural building! Morgan