Earthbag Roundhouse with Siberian Chum Roof

Earthbag Roundhouse with Siberian Chum Roof

I’m always on the lookout for alternative building techniques. In this video, survivalist Ray Mears shows how to build a Siberian chum (tent) using a dozen poles. Three poles are tied together into a tripod and the remainder leaned against it. Reindeer hides are tied on top. But what of more permanent structures where greater insulation is preferred?

With my earthbag design, there are two roof frames with insulation between. Virtually all materials are made from small diameter wood poles – roof poles, bond beam, lintels, loft joists, wood shakes and woodchip insulation. Perhaps sphagnum moss or wool insulation is available. Upper earthbag walls could be filled with woodchip/clay if there is sufficient drying time. Tilt-down stairs lead to a sleeping loft. Only a very small wood stove is needed for heating. It would be quite easy to build debt-free by gradually adding extra roundhouses as time and resources allow. A small cluster of these roundhouses would be real cozy.

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