Earth Ships: Round Houses are not Box Houses

5 11 2009

Beyond the Horizon of Taos, New-Mexico the box-houses sit squat and square much as they have done for over one hundred years. Ah the box-houses . . . And anyway, what’s so special about Taos, New Mexico?  It’s hard to believe that people for the most part are still living in houses that are like, well . . .boxes. And if that is what lies beyond the hoizon in Toas then what is in Taos?

Ah ha! Something different, something wonderful, something remarkable and magical. Truly so. Something pointed at the future. The butterfly is flapping it’s wings in Tokyo that will cause the hurricane in Texas. A beautiful chaos is brewing.

As far as i can make out the big benefit of box-houses is that they stack well.  This means that when it appears that you have run out of space in one of those very popular mega-huge mega-cities we are all so fond of nowadays, you can stack these big boxes one on top of another and then put humans in them. It’s a similar concept to keeping caged chooks. Very efficient. Bit boring for the chooks. But, problem solved right? Maybe.

It was noted by that great contributor to human welfare and evolution Stanley Dumbrovski that the arch is a far more human friendly portal than the square or oblong. Apart from being flat out booring the square doorway clashes with the round human head. Think aobut it. One might suspect that it’s not just square doorways but square hallways, square rooms and square televisions as well that mess with our heads. Apparently all the Euclidean (flat) planes in our houses these past few hundred years have produced all the square people now over-running the planet. A moment’s reflection will bear this out. Caves are organic roundish dwellings. Now the cavesperson as well as having adapted to his/her environment was not so rude and bad mannered or indeed so stupid as to wipe out all the other species. Jolly good show you cave chaps. Jolly good show.

Many races who followed the cave persons lived happy and meaningful lives in humpies, yurts, tee-pees and tents – all roundish organic shaped dwellings, note. The round house tribes managed to stay within the ecological limits, thus being part of rather than destroying, the ecological balance. Alas, since then humankind has been outright rude enough to “conquer” nature. Is this starting to make sense?

Instead of having nice round, circular time with days that loop and wobble organically with seasons, we straightened time with clocks that measure out a series of neat uniform little units – little boxes of time. Time used to be pulsating, round and circular. Not anymore. We bulldozed mountains and built bridges and we laid out flat ribbons of black tar to connect up all the boxes. And in the middle of all this flatness a truly sinister phenomenon. In this flat, linear, square and perpendicular world man declared that Man – not woman was the superior being. The boss, the bully the dominator the MAN.

In order to demonstrate his vast superiority over the weaker sex, nature and the elements, Man then proceeded to eat, kill, maim and torture as many plants and animals as possible by the might of his industrial, mechanical and militaristic muscle. This fed our glorious prosperity, our glorious growth and our glorious Ego.

Can you see where we might have made a few mistakes back there?

So anyway back to Taos, New Mexico and something special and round that’s been happening. There’s a crazy guy from Taos by the name of Michael Reynolds. He decided some time ago that old box houses are not the sane solution, not the way to go. And being an architect he did something about it. Michael Reynolds started designing and building houses that respected the fact that there is a thing called the Earth and furthermore he put some roundness into his houses. He doesn’t call them houses he calls them Earthships, and he doesn’t call his art Architecture he calls it Biotechture. Big difference.

These extraordinary, beautiful and organic Earthships feature lots of roundness; domes, circular sections, circling rooms and waving walls. Earthships are sunk in and dug into the Earth. They use much of recycled materials and transform garbage into building materials. Exactly what is needed right now.  Earthships are able to make maximum advantage of the sun’s heat in winter as their earthen mass captures and then slowly releases solar energy. In summer the process is reversed, drawing on cooler temperature that lies just beneath the earth’s surface – a standard solar energy design known as passive solar. Reynold’s evolved and integrated biotechture designs now feature full self-sufficiency with four grades of water recycling and technologically sophisticated living bio-organic water filtration systems. Active solar and wind power harness and storage that plugs into standard connections that electricians use to power your mod cons such as lighting and refrigeration. Reynolds has taken the whole green and sustainable housing approach to the next stage of evolution. Forget about taking it to the next level. Reynolds has taken it into another realm.

His journey has taken him into the State legislature where he fought for years to have a bill passed that now, finally, allows him to experiment and innvoate on the fly when building and designing his Earthships. Along the way he was invited into the Tsunami ravaged Andaman Islands. He and his team were able to build teach and transfer knowledge to the locals, unhampered by red tape that constrains developed world projects. But his approach is bearing fruit and he and his team have been involved putting Earthships into locations from the UK to Australia, India, Africa, Europe and South America.  Now the rest is history.

The Michael Reynolds Earthship story is a classic case of Chaos Theory in action. A new model is emerging and has became an attractor state. Instabilities in the global system opened up opportunity windows inside of which the small actions (butterflies) can generate massive change (the hurricane). The little Earthship butterfly flapped its wings and has created a huricane of sustainability change. Michael Reynolds hopes he has not emerged too late for the Earth and global warming. I suspect he has emerged at just the right time and his contribution will continue to expand and have major impact.

It’s all about sustainability and transformation these days and miracles are happening right now. According to Quantum Theory if you can see them you created them. Have you seen the Earthships?

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