Saturday, October 5, 2019

Spectacular rammed-earth dome home is tucked deep into a Costa Rican jungle

There is something important here.   That is the building of a truly secure roof structure that is itself high and with additional open spaces that can allow light in that is no part of the actual housing.  It acts as a useful shade structure as well which allows additional vegetation as well.

With that roof, any form of locally crafted construct can then be built under this artificial canopy.  This is particularly useful in a jungle environment were daily downpours are common. 

Wind storms are always a problem, but that needs to be engineered around.  Dropping the structure to the side may be possible.  Even rolling the roof panels down along rails like a common garage door could work for this.  After all we want protection from sunlight and heavy rain.

The wind is the real problem in many locales, but that is why most of our building codes are adopted.  Using stress skin panels it is possible to put up a building able to survive tornadoes and hurricanes.  Yet that is costly and constraining and  not otherwise useful.

Separating out wind response needs to be better addressed as this demonstrates.  A wind storm would blow the illustrated roof here away, but the associated rain would hardly bother the underlying buildings as it would be a one off event.

Spectacular rammed-earth dome home is tucked deep into a Costa Rican jungle 

by Nicole Jewell View Slideshow

Costa Rica has long been renowned for its commitment to protecting its natural environment, but one home nestled into 2.5 acres of a permaculture farm is really setting an example for green building. Located in the idyllic area of Diamante Valley, the House Without Shoes is an incredible rammed-earth complex made up of three interconnected domes, which are joined by an open-air deck that looks out over the stunning valley and ocean views.

Measuring a total of 2,000 square feet, the House Without Shoes is comprised of three domes that were constructed with bags of rammed earth. All of the domes feature custom-made arched windows and wood frames with screens. They also have skylights that allow natural light to flood the interior spaces.

The main dome, which is approximately 22-feet high, houses the primary living area as well as the dining room and kitchen. A beautiful spiral staircase leads up to the second floor, which has enough space for a large office as well as an open-air, 600-square-foot deck that provides spectacular views of the valley leading out to the ocean. The two smaller domes, which house the bedrooms, are separated by the main dome by an outdoor platform.

The rammed-earth construction of the structures keeps the interior spaces naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter. In addition to its tight thermal mass, the home operates on a number of passive and active design principles. The home’s water supply comes from multiple springs found in the valley. Gray water from the sinks and shower are funneled into a collection system that is used for irrigation. At the moment, the house runs on the town’s local grid but has its own self-sustaining system set up.

The domes are set in a remote area, tucked into the highest point of a 60-acre organic, permaculture farm in the Diamante Valley. Not only is the house surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty and abundant wildlife, but it also enjoys the benefits of organic gardening. The vast site is separated into three garden areas that are planted with everything from yucca and mango to coco palms and perennial greens, not to mention oodles of fresh herbs.

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