Alternative construction ideas

Living small doesn’t mean living with wheels under our feet forever.  Some day, we’re hoping to be able to build a small, efficient, and comfortable home.  As a result, we’re looking at alternative ideas all the time, trying to remember the things we like…so when it’s time to build something, we can use that information.

These eco-domes use sleeves that are packed full of soil as their primary building block and the smooth rounded shapes are really kind of cool.  For some reason though, they seem to remind me of Star Wars.  I do like this house, and it is something to remember.  Check out this video.

Monolithic domes use an entirely different method, although the shapes seem quite similar, just much larger in scale.  I found this video quite interesting as well.

I’ve seen dome homes that have survived hurricane strikes and storm surges.  The concept is fascinating to me, and here is a video from a company that was marketing post-Ike domes.  In this video, a company (very quickly!) demonstrates assembly of a pre-fab dome home.  I kind of like that instant build thing!

Now this home is more traditional in design.  This company, Kokoon Homes, sells the pre-constructed shells in a package form, allowing the shell home to be constructed in less than a week for 3 men.  The video is quite interesting.  Bungalow in a Box takes it a step further, with a complete shell construction occurring in a day with their pre-fab panels.  Now this video shows traditional construction size and methods…but not speed.  This was a competition to build a  house in under 4 hours–I’m not sure I’d want to live in one of THOSE!

Another fascinating portion of our architectural history is the Sears Home.  These were sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. in the early 1900s as actual kit homes.  (Here’s a good video story.)

Log cabins have a long American history, but while they come complete with rustic charm, I’m not so sure they are what I’d call “efficient” and “modern.”  Even so, even log homes can come via the modular design system.  (Here’s a video.)  Here’s another video with more traditional construction techniques as well as some fascinating furniture.

Another design of interest is the “hexayurt”.  There are designs for folding (and portable) ones as well as those intended for mid to long term use.  The concept is interesting, but I’m not so sure I’m sold on the idea, except as perhaps an outbuilding or something temporary, like our travel trailer is.  There are a lot of videos featuring this design in various ways to be found on Youtube, but this video focuses on the folding version.  Like the tipi and yurt, these can be portable, but I’m not entirely sold on the concepts for long term permanent housing solutions for myself and GM.

So why do I look at all of these odd ideas?  I’m looking for the ideas that will eventually form a house for GM and I.  Knowing how things work, we’re apt to take many ideas from many places and put them together for ourselves, creating something ideally (we hope!) suited to us and our lifestyle.

So far, I love the gentle curving nature of the Eco Dome from Calearth.  I could easily see one of these located on land in the Southwest, where I spent most of my life.  I’m just not so sure they are ideally suited to the high humidity of the South, and there is the added problem of raising a house (for avoiding flood waters) along the Gulf Coast where we currently live.  The engineering and substructure that would be required to hoist that much dirt up 10-20 ft. into the air is rather frightening!  Of course, the idea of having those gently curving pod-like homes perched among the tree tops is even MORE Star Wars-ish than the thought of it nestled among the rocks and dirt of the American Southwest.

In any case, exploring these new ideas has opened new possibilities beyond the 8×30 ft tin can concept.  We have plenty to consider!

Tonight’s series of videos and ideas have been brought to you courtesy of the misery of the flu compounded by another cold snap on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I’m currently treating it with copious amounts of hot tea, cough drops, and a generic fizzing cold tablet that comes in foil envelopes.

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About giascott

Writer, blogger, cook, grandmother, mother, wife, radio personality, outdoor enthusiast, dog enthusiast, crafter, artist, and part-time nut~~I've earned a lot of t-shirts in my day! I'm one of those crazy independent women who can cut down a tree, build you a shed, sew you a dress, cook your dinner, make some soap, pitch a tent, build a fire, catch some fish, dig in the garden, chase a kid or two, write you a poem, paint you a picture, and a dozen other things...just don't ask me to sing! I'm also embarking on a relatively new portion of my life, one of being disabled. I'm learning some lessons along the way about a lot of things too.
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