Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest

matt wignall earthship photography 01 Experiencing A Pocket Of Freedom In The Southwest Photographer : Matt Wignall

Neil Harrison and I have started a 3 year project to document the sociology, topography, and recent history of the USA. We will hit every state as we travel in a diesel converted LandCruiser with a tent system built into the roof rack.  We have started a website (futureroadmaps.tumblr.com) and twitter account in the event that anyone is interested in following the project.  The eventual goal is a coffee table book and accompanying exhibits that make up our contemporary survey of American life.  We are on the first week of trip 1. 

The Earthship is by far the most genius piece of architecture we have ever seen

The Southwest

Now i’m pleased to introduce you to the Earthship. This pictured is one of the earliest Earthships designed. We stayed here for 3 days.  It sits in a very tough environment and is now getting a bit of an overhaul on the outside adobe on account of 15 years of neglect. Pretty impressive that a few cracks are all it has sustained.  A regular house would have collapsed at 8000 feet with snowy winters and heat wave summers.  Every thing in it is built from old tires and mud, the roof is a rain water catch, and the water is held in the large drum and then used for the dishes and toilet.  It is as off of the grid as you can get, solar, gray water etc.  In the below and above shots from Neil’s digi you can see the tires under the adobe styling.

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Miraval The Green Luxury Desert Spa With Oozing Style

miraval residential villas 01 Miraval The Green Luxury Desert Spa With Oozing Style

A modern green gem rising up out of the Sonoran desert. That might be the best way to describe the Miraval. A resort spa designed by the architecture firm Miraval. Mithun’s design of 16 new single family villas at Miraval’s Tucson, Arizona resort combine the desert’s rich human history with environmentally intelligent practices and brings Miraval’s physical environment in line with its award-winning spa experience, so their site says.

The interesting part of the villa’s design for me are the Rammed Earth walls. Using the dirt from the property to create the walls, the architects, where able to give the villa’s a timeless feeling. Rammed Earth is one of the oldest building techniques known to man. But unfortunately isn’t used very often in modern buildings, because of strict city building codes.

Details about the resort:

Nestled at the base of the stunning Catalina Mountains, Miraval Arizona’s 400 acres of lush Sonoran Desert creates an inspiring backdrop that is warm and welcoming any time of the year.  The luxurious accommodations and world renowned spa, have lead the readers of Travel & Leisure, SpaFinder and Conde Nast to vote Miraval the #1 spa in the world, year after year.  The award winning cuisine is created with our fundamental belief that healthy ingredients can also mean exquisite flavor.  A complete selection of daily programs, both indoor and outdoor, in areas such as fitness, meditation, nutrition, relationships and more, help individuals learn new ways to live and feel better.  For time to relax or explore, to spend time with loved ones or with yourself, Miraval provides hundreds of experiences that make every individual’s time at Miraval unique and unforgettable.

miraval residential villas 06 Miraval The Green Luxury Desert Spa With Oozing Style

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Austin Architect Goes Really Really Old School With Rammed Earth

rammed earth house austin texas 01 Austin Architect Goes Really Really Old School With Rammed Earth

So, many of you might already know this, I am a product of the cow poking state of Texas. Yep, I know, it doesn’t seem possible, how could a good looking Twisted Green Juice Guzzling Black Monkie like me be from Texas? Well, I not from there, I was just trapped for a while. Most of my non-Monkie family still lives in Austin Texas, which just happens to be the greenest, most forward thinking city in that entire state. Austin is even the birth place of Whole Foods, how cool is that. So, when I saw this story about a green house made with Rammed Earth, in Austin, I had to post about it, even though it is not the type of place I would go for. It’s a very traditional designed home, and here at G Living we lean towards the sleeker modern side.

This 5000 sq. ft beast of a house is interesting because it uses one of the oldest building techniques know to man, Rammed Earth. Before humans ever figured out how to make concrete, they where using Rammed Earth, to build their cities, temples, and their high protective walls. By pounding a mixture of dirt, grass and clay between forms, ancient societies, build very efficient structures, which can stand for thousands of years. And since the rammed earth walls are so thick, they enable the buildings to maintain a steady temperature all year around.

rammed earth house austin texas 03 Austin Architect Goes Really Really Old School With Rammed Earth

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The Modern Rammed Earth Home

rammedearth modern The Modern Rammed Earth Home

( via arkinetia.com )

So, you love modern and you love earthy, how about a modern rammed earth home by CHRISTOPHERCHRIS PTY LTD ARCHITECTURE | Australia.

A contemporary new home for a young family relocating from a busy city environment to the Mornington Peninsula. Constructed primarily from locally sourced rammed earth and ship lapped cedar panelling, the house is sited across the ridge of the property.

The elemental form of the building is enhanced by the contrasting and intersecting selection of material, textures and colours, threaded together by the linear rammed earth wall. Key views to the valley are enjoyed from all living areas and bedrooms, whilst the master bedroom is privileged to a unique vista down to the peninsula and onwards to bass straight. Photos after the Jump
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