Earth and Turf Cabin

I built it with my wife Konomi and we live in it full time.

This is Dragon Tree An (An is Japanese means Hut or cabin usually associated with a teacher, scholar poet of monk).

I built it with my wife Konomi and we live in it full time. There is no road to our land and everything has come up a steep hill on our backs or the backs of the few friends who have journeyed to the ends of the world to help us.

It is still a work in progress, has a spectacular view and is located near the village of La Junta in Aysen, Chile. Patogonian weather is extreme, so an extreme house was needed to maintain warmth and keep out the heavy rains and driving wind.

Insulation is outside the house, beneath hundreds of tons of earth, all moved and dug by hand, but beneath the house there is none. This means that as the earth dries around the outside and beneath the house the heat rises in winter to keep the place cosy, as of two years habiotation it is ten to twelve degrees Centigrade warmer inside than out.

There are two walls with insulation between made of bags stuffed with earth and between each row barbed wire united and ties the structure together.

In summer the house is cool and fresh and in winter, warm and dry.

The house is now united to over two hundred meters of turf walls and the picture me in it, is the first section of the moat that is also now united to the whole structure. The idea is to keep the structure very low key and supply enough water and terraces sheltered by the walls to grow organic vegetables, both in the greenhouse and outside.

For our home we recently an international prize for sustainable living.


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