Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

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Name: Kelly Hart
Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built (but is now mostly living in Mexico) and consults about sustainable building design.

August 12, 2005

Sustainable Housing Relief

In recent months I have had the opportunity to engage in many conversations with Dr. Owen Geiger of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building (, and mostly we have talked about ways to create inexpensive, durable homes for people around the globe who are in need of shelter. This has been sparked by the obvious need of victims of the Tsunami in SE Asia to rebuild their lives with adequate homes.

Many of the solutions that have either been proposed or implemented for this purpose have been too expensive, too technological in nature, too impermanent, or culturally inappropriate. Especially in flood-prone areas, we have focused on the use of earthbags filled with locally available materials as the primary building block. These can withstand the onslaught of wind, water, and earthquakes without deteriorating, are inexpensive and simple to construct, and can be used to fashion many different styles of buildings.

Owen has pulled together a team of specialists (architects, engineers, educatiors, etc.) who are willing to help put these ideas into practicle designs that can be built wherever needed. I am proud to be one of these team members. We are currently working on a simple manual that is primarily visual to help convey the steps required for building with earthbags.

I have been in contact with the coordinator of Peace Corpse volunteers in El Salvador, and may be going there to conduct a workshop on this method of building. Owen plans to take his expertise to SE Asia soon, and is looking forward to engaging in hands-on projects in that region. Our motive is to introduce these ideas in places where they can be implemented and then carried on by the locals after we leave. I am sure that I will be posting more about all of this as time goes on.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Center for vernacular Architecture>Bangalore>India>

The Centre for Vernacular Architecture is a Co-operative of building craft persons established in 1989. A non-profit organization, the Centre has been designing and executing turnkey, various vernacular architectural projects in South India. Vernacular Architecture is a little known and little explored field that is concerned with Architectural building traditions/practices that are cost effective, ecologically sensible and culturally relevant. Building on the work of practioners like Laurie Baker and Hassan Fathy, our architectural practice promotes the use of locally available materials, traditional building techniques, culturally and climatically relevant building design.

7:42 PM  

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