In 2018, Bryce Langston traveled with the “Living Big in a Tiny House” team to visit an Earthship home in Adelaide, Australia.
An Earthship home is a kind of passive solar earth shelter made from natural and repurposed materials. It is designed to be sustainable, producing water, electricity, and food for its own use.
Earthship homes also use off-the-grid technology to create a high-functioning, efficient home. It’s also called an Earthship because it uses a lot of earth in its construction, with it being a very sustainable construction material.
Earthship are the brainchild of American architect Michael Reynolds, and this type of dwelling is becoming popular across the globe.
He came up with the concept with hopes of solving “the problem of trash and the lack of affordable housing.” He then founded Earthship Biotecture to educate aspiring builders in his home base in Taos, Mexico.
One couple who were inspired by Reynolds’ work is Martin and Zoe, who decided to build their own Earthship home on their property in Australia.
After discovering Earthship Biotecture, Martin traveled to Taos to study with Reynolds and learn about Earthship design and construction. After returning to Australia, Martin and Zoe started designing their own Earthship home with a team of 60 volunteers.
They modeled it after one of Reynolds’ designs, called the “simple survival model Earthship,” which he developed in response to an earthquake in Haiti. However, Martin tweaked it to adapt to the Australian climate and deal with bush fires and extreme heat.
The home is only 70 square meters, but it’s packed with special features. Martin incorporated sustainable technologies into it, giving the home the ability to generate its own power, maintain a stable temperature, collect its own water, and treat and recycle graywater. It can even grow food.
It goes without saying that this Earthship home took plenty of planning and effort to complete. In fact, Martin and Zoe wanted it to be Australia’s first Earthship to undergo the council approval process, which means that every aspect of the unique building needed to comply with specific regulations.
Unfortunately, the couple also owns a strawbale home in the property, so council regulations prohibited full-time occupancy of the Earthship. However, it’s available to rent on weekends via Airbnb, so guests can visit and experience living in a self-sustaining home.
“Close to Adelaide Hills wineries, golf course, bush-walks and other tourist attractions,” Martin and Zoe wrote on the Airbnb listing. “The Freney family live next door in a passive solar strawbale home – close by if you need advice on sailing the “ship”. A place where you can experience the future of sustainable housing!”
Martin now works as a consultant on Earthship designs and natural building projects worldwide. You can find his work and information on this Earthship on his website.
The home is a true architectural marvel with its beautiful symmetry and curves. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s inside.
With their unique Earthship home, Martin and Zoe really have taken sustainable home design to the next level! Check it out in the video below.
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