The construction technique we use is called earth bag technology. We are not 100% certain as to where the technique originated, however it is most likely an adaptation of the “fox hole” that were built in World War I to protect soldiers from enemy fire. Soldiers were issued a small shovel and hemp/jute sacks that they could fill with earth, creating a “fox hole.” The bags were stacked like bricks creating a bullet proof wall. Pretty amazing. I like to think that our buildings are bomb proof.
I chose this technique because, from my research, it is the best all round building technique for the desert. It is relatively inexpensive, virtually hurricane proof due to its dome shape, cool in the hot summer months, warm in the cooler winter months. It is structurally super strong and flexible, this is critical in earthquake areas like Baja Sur, Mexico.
There are a few different styles and techniques being used. One is called super adobe, this technique uses a different type of bag or sack, barbed wire, cement and rebar in the building process. We use none of these “add-on’ and costly products in our buildings. I personally am not in favor of barbed wire, cement or rebar in my buildings, they have a high expense both to the builder and the environment. On our project we are using 90% local and sustainable materials, a fully earthen plaster and low VOC water proofing techniques. My crew and I have invented and developed several critical techniques that allow us to do things that are unique to our earthbag dOMes. With what we have developed we are able to hang the bags a full 10 cm. this gives us the flexability to create true domes, rather then cone shaped buildings. We will be sharing these time saving, aesthetically and structurally sound techniques with you during our workshops.