Haiti's first Ti Kay Pay

bwbhaiti1Builders Without Borders’ Haiti team, led by architect Martin Hammer and builder Andy Mueller, completed its first project in March 2011 in Port-au-Prince. BWB’s Ti Kay Pay (Small Straw House) is the first straw bale building in Haiti. Interesting to note that the foundation that has been built for this house is composed of compressed earth with cement colar. Scroll through to view photos.

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Dealing with Building Codes

West-Cumbrian-Straw-Bale-HouseThis article is reposted to give more exposure to Green Home Building and their expert opinions on a sensitive subject of building codes. What are they? Why are they being enforced? What solutions can we provide today to make everyone's life easier? Green Home Building has got these and other questions answered - Eco Friendly Shelters.

"Dealing with building codes can be a major hurdle for those who want to build with natural materials, especially if there is anything experimental about the design concept or building technology. I have rassled with this issue many times in my life. I have ignored the local building authorities and either been caught or felt deceptive. I have complied with local authroities and been forced to do things that I considered either of questionable value or in opposition to my intentions. Occasionally I have been glad that the code was there to point out a safe approach to some building problem. So I approach the issue of building codes with very mixed emotions.

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Building the Underground Hobbit House

uh-cob-guyWhat follows is a photo tour of a nine year old evolving project and the construction notes of Glenn Kangiser. "My rule for the underground cabin is that it is built handmade using alternative materials that are, for the most part, found, salvaged or reclaimed."

The floor has its own interesting history. "We have tried many different methods in experimenting with alternative floor materials. The front porch area is a cob floor covered with several coats of thinned boiled linseed oil. It is a more durable floor than the apartment area interior floors which are soil cement. The cement in the mix arrests shrinkage making the floor softer and easier to damage. The soil cement floors must have a new layer of sealer applied every few months to prevent dusting."

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Mike Oehler - Underground Housing

Mike OehlerUnderground housing is a concept whose time has come again. Its advantages over above-ground housing are spectacular. It stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It blends in with nature rather than rearing above it. It can double the yard space in a city. To the neighbors it looks like a park. It is the most environmentally sound. It uses half the building materials. It is the safest form of housing: it is fire resistant, radiation resistant and is impervious to tornado and hurricane strength winds. It even does better in earthquakes.

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