Antecedents

A small and cosy place that meets all our basic and comfort needs and is an organic part of the environment that surrounds it... harmoniously designed to suit the human scale, healthy and sustainable (both in an economic and ecological sense). It should not be an unrealistic wish for the people of the 21st century who have even conquered space. However, for many this seems more and more like an impossible dream
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Four years ago we decided to try and change this situation. We realized that people’s awareness and willingness to take responsibility for the environment had exponentially increased and a lot of them are ready to change their lives and (re)discover the real human values. Our present economic system which is based on consumption, growth and dependency, unfortunately does not favor those who would like to create a sustainable world. The following is a good example of this situation: a lot of people are attracted to eco-architecture and would wish to have energy saving and healthy home. Yet the construction of an eco-house or an earth house (earth bermed or earth sheltered home) is luxurious and not many can afford one. We tend to value externals, money and high-tech solutions (e.g. passive houses with a complicated technology). However, these solutions are expensive and require a lot of energy (building materials, engineering, delivery), and are vulnerable (dependent on complicated electronics and engineering). Houses with organic forms (vaults and domes) have lower maintenance costs (especially earth covered houses), but arched structures are not suitable to be built from the mostly used cubical or linear building materials such as bricks or wood or if so a lot of money and expertise will be needed. Nature, the wisest architect, provides plenty of simple methods and building materials. We just need to notice, use and copy them. In most cases no special expertise or educational background is required. If this is the approach we apply while designing and building our home, both the building and maintenance costs will be lowered, not to talk about how much healthier and environmentally friendly these techniques are. However, we must be aware of the fact that these techniques require compromises as there are a lot of contradictory aspects to be taken into consideration: We want to use natural but at the same time „everlasting” building materials that do not require too much upkeeping. We want these materials to be cheap but durable and environmentally friendly. These expectations and requirements present a lot of challenges to those who wish for a healthy home.

According to the compromises mentioned above we discovered the superadobe or in other words the earthbag technology is both environmentally friendly and cheap enough. It integrates traditional adobe architecture with the modern requirements of statics, durability and comfort and as such offers an alternative that will get people closer to realize their dream for a healthy home.