In building a sustainable house, at 7,500 feet, out of puddled adobe, strawbales, and earthbags, Kristina Orchard-Hays ’95 drew on the independent spirit and creative thinking skills she acquired at Bryn Mawr.

In building a sustainable house, at 7,500 feet, out of puddled adobe, strawbales, and earthbags, Kristina Orchard-Hays ’95 drew on the independent spirit and creative thinking skills she acquired at Bryn Mawr.


“In the wake of both personal and national tragedy, I decided it was time to follow Thoreau’s dictum and simplify. Clearly, my life of quiet desperation had to change. As I sifted through the complexities of my daily routine, I noticed a recurring problem—my struggles to house myself.

Two alternative living festivals, 20 books, and one lecture later, we hit upon a solution—to buy an inexpensive piece of land and build an environmentally sustainable house with our own four hands. After all, Reid had years of engineering design under his belt, while I was the queen of creative projects. We gave notice on our studio, scuttled our possessions into a storage unit, and hit the road.

Our first months here were anything but simple, however. After sinking our savings into 20 acres of sagebrush and dirt west of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, we had to figure how to eke a structure from the dust. We had only our reference library and a one-day cob workshop to go by, as well as the pressing issue of water hanging over our heads. Namely, we had none.”

Read more at the source: Bryn Mawr.edu


Comments

My Off-the-Grid Building Odyssey — 8 Comments

  1. They do have an “interesting background” and I can only assume that they decided to throw off all the “interesting pressures” that went with that background. Good for them.

  2. Hello Dr. Geiger,
    I very much enjoy this daily blog-site, thank you for providing it! In todays article titled ” my off the grid odyssey” I could only find three paragraphs on it, could you instruct me where to find out more about todays topic, thank you,

    Brian.

  3. I love hearing the personal side of people’s building experiences. This is a reminder to everyone reading this to please make a blog or website and document your project so others can learn. Take this house for example. Wouldn’t it be great to see more photos and house drawings? Hear more details?

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