Greetings Soledad Friends,
January left as quickly as it showed up! 2013 is upon us—13 is a number that is known for its “bad luck” qualities. Not something I put much credence on. But yet there is a little bit of wariness about it! As I got to thinking about it a bit more I realized 2013 is 30 years after 1983! Go figure! Thirty years ago is actually very significant in my life. This is the year that Rammed Earth entered my life. Rammed earth—an ancient building method. A way to build a home with dirt–a way to build “green”. In 1983 that was not a way to describe building methods. Fast-forward thirty years and building rammed earth homes is green, but so are building methods using frame construction! There are now industries focused on green building. You can have your home rated to let everyone now how green it is. But back in 1983 all we wanted to do was create a home that worked with the living environment–solar orientation, mass walls, local materials, low maintenance, and energy wise. Little did we know it would take 30 years for those simple methods to become standard practice in the building industry. We were building green when green was brown! Click on the link below to view a video made some 16 years ago. It is an excerpt from the video “A Sampler of Alternative Homes – Approaching Sustainable Architecture” by Hartworks, Inc. Mario & I were interviewed about building with rammed earth. Remember high definition was not available back then!!
The way to learn about rammed earth in 1983 was books and actual face-to-face contact. Unlike today just Google rammed earth and you will come up with hundreds of pieces of information and images from around the world. In 1983 Mario and I attended an Earthen Technologies Conference in Tucson, Arizona. People from around the world came together to learn from each other. We latched on to Rammed Earth immediately. A proclamation was made: “This is how we will build our home.” The intention was one home, our home. We are now building our 75th Rammed Earth home!! See photo below. Along with the many more frame homes we have built we are very grateful for the last 30 years of creating “Green Homes”-many shades of Green!
I still live in my rammed earth home we built 30 years ago. A home that has provided a home environment that is good for the environment. Its permanence is foretold, its permanence is a living testament to building with earth.
I regularly receive email and phone calls asking about building rammed earth homes. From a man who wants to create rammed earth subdivisions in Utah, to a person that wants a 400 square foot home somewhere in New Mexico-location to be determined! Last week I received an inquiry asking how far we would travel to build. Two and a half hours is too far, an hour and a half is doable. The common thread is people who want their home to have physical permanence. The thick walls, the sense of security that those walls bring, and the delight of coming home to a rammed earth home.
We are equally excited to create an energy efficient frame home in the near future. A home that will provide a backdrop to family gatherings, a home that brings out the creative juices, and will provide jobs for many families! We are in the middle of making selections, getting prices and putting out the plans for bids. I can’t wait to do brick red kitchen cabinets!!
February is For the Love of Art month in Las Cruces. There are many fabulous artists in our community. Be sure and make an effort to go out and enjoy the Art and buy a piece! It will bring joy to your home or work place. One of their main shows will be Feb. 15 & 16 at the Las Cruces Convention Center. For more information see link below. Here’s a photo of my latest pieces of art in our office. Two pieces–graphite artist Robert “Shoofly” Shufelt’s “Buck and Booner” and photographer David Shaw’s – a Portrait of Shoofly. A quote by Walter Pater out of Shoofly’s: The Point of My Pencil. “Art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass.”
Rammed Earth Homeowner for 30 years & General Contractor