On weekends, my house mate, Jim Fakey and I would go out to his little chunk of land with his back seat full of scrap lumber found laying around any building sight of the required three foot length he'd collected over the week. On his table saw we would cut the same angle on 360 separate pieces, then cut another angle on them the next, and new pieces the next weekend until, mid summer of ‘73, we’d refined enough scrap lumber to assemble a stack of triangles which we then bolted together for the framework of his thirty foot diameter dome home. The giant oven/fireplace was a native stone spiral reaching to the peak and stretching into a spiral enclosure for the bathroom, the outer portion of which was made of mortar and multicolored bottles on their sides for quite ethereal lighting in the shower whose water was heated by the sun in 75 feet of folded black hose in a glass box on the roof. It was the most enjoyable home I have ever taken part in the construction of and definitely my most direct experience of becoming self sustaining to that point in my life.
At the same time we were doing that a fellow named Michael Reynolds, upon becoming an architect, began showing the world what they could do with all the garbage they were complaining about in a much more thorough endeavor than ours. Without further ado …
Go here for more on this wonderful avatar for a sustainable future.
Absolute Vanilla asked why call these buildings Earthships, my reply I repeat here:
Without reading their reasons I can think of several off the top of my head:
1) Being symbiotic with the Earth and realizing it is your natural self sustaining spAce ship.
2) Being in the same boat we have the same common cause like a crew, with our unique contributions to offer.
3) The buildings leave a zero footprint on the earth like the wake of a clean ship through water.
4) The buildings themselves are made of what would normally end up in land fill and the natural materials of the location on which they are built.