Note: This is probably the closest we’ve come to going viral with our message about earthbag building. Skim to the bottom of this blog post and look at all the sites that are posting this story. And that’s just a few. The surge of interest came from my recent articles at Instructables.com, which combined have racked up some 88,000 hits in the last few days. I mention this because it’s another indicator of the popularity in earthbag building. Now, on to today’s post.
We built this earthbag dome at our home in Thailand for Mother Earth News Magazine in 2007. The article that describes the complete building process in detail was published August/September 2009. It is now free on the Internet: Low-Cost Multipurpose Minibuilding Made With Earthbags, by Owen Geiger.
[Ed: This 5,000 word article explains everything you need to know to build the dome, and is the most complete dome building guide now on the Internet.]
This earthbag dome Instructable simplifies the process and illustrates each step of construction with photos. The two critical drawings are also included here.
This multi-purpose dome can serve as a storage shed or cool pantry above ground, or as a rootcellar or storm shelter below ground. No building permit is typically needed, because it is below the minimum size required by building codes, is not inhabited and is not attached to a residence.
Earthbag structures provide a cool space in summer and an escape from the cold in winter (ideal for humans and animals), which means this earthbag dome is well suited for many purposes, like a quiet space for relaxing or playing music, as well as those listed previously. Depending on your needs, the most practical combination of uses might be a rootcellar/cool pantry for daily use and a disaster shelter for emergencies such as tornadoes or hurricanes.
The key concept that makes earthbag domes work is corbelling. This means each course (each row) of bags is inset slightly from the course below. Corbelled domes made of adobe and stone have been built for thousands of years. The concept has been applied to earthbags in the last few decades.
You can read the entire article for free: How to Build an Earthbag Dome
It’s also been selected by The Daily What as the DIY of the day on Monday, January 31, 2011. http://thedailywh.at/post/3037944318/diy-of-the-day-build-your-own-shire-like-earthbag The story has also been picked up by Neatorama. http://www.neatorama.com/2011/02/01/how-to-build-an-earthbag-dome/ and No Tech Magazine http://www.notechmagazine.com/2011/02/how-to-build-an-earthbag-dome.html, The World’s Strangest http://www.worldsstrangest.com/neatorama/how-to-build-an-earthbag-dome/, Regator http://regator.com/p/247263378/how_to_build_an_earthbag_dome/, Facebook http://www.facebook.com/instructables/posts/160415757344155, Offbookbeatbox http://offbook.tumblr.com/post/3055596261/how-to-build-an-earthbag-dome, Google Buzz http://www.google.com/buzz/116150648915115517660/APhEMu4Jhmg/How-to-Build-an-Earthbag-Dome-Neatorama, Friendfeed.com http://friendfeed.com/koiyuki/9212774f/how-to-build-earthbag-dome, Pop Culture Matters http://pop-culture.mattters.com/, Lovely Listing http://lovelylisting.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/02/02/funny-real-estate-earthbag-dome/, Twitter, StumbleUpon and many international sites.