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Helical Earthbag Shelter Built by Taliesin Student

Posted By Bridgette Meinhold On November 16, 2010 @ 6:15 pm In Architecture,Green Building | 3 Comments

helixa shelter, maya ward-karet, desert shelter, taliesin, earthbag, green design, sustainable architecture [1]

Each year a number of students at Taliesin take part in the design/build shelter program [2] in order to get a hands-on learning experience in building what they design. Many students as of late are building more sustainable projects that carefully consider their materials and show a deep respect for the surrounding desert environment. Ward-Karet wanted to gain some real world experience in the earthbag construction method [3] while building in a manner that was in keeping with the surroundings. With a budget of $1,000, she designed and built the Helixa Shelter using earthbags, adobe, sunbrella fabric, and scraps from the architecture school.

The form of the earthen shelter [4] is like a seashell, which opens up to the light of dawn and provides shade from the hot desert sun with a half-dome awning. The earthbags and adobe walls provide thermal mass to soak up the heat and release it back at night as the desert cools down. A protected sleeping area sits at the center of the shelter’s spiral, and seating at the opening of the shelter provides space to socialize.

helixa shelter, maya ward-karet, desert shelter, taliesin, earthbag, green design, sustainable architecture [5]

Helixa was designed by Ward-Karet and constructed by herself along with the help of other students, friends and family. All of the materials were walked in or moved by a wheelbarrow in order to minimize impact on the desert, and all construction took place within 2 feet of the shelter’s final footprint. The earthbags were made using a collapsed rammed earth wall [6] from a former student shelter, and the chimney is reinforced with a small (~8%) amount of concrete to ensure stability.

At the end of the student project [7], Ward-Karet designed and built the structure for $812, largely through the use of reclaimed materials and a donation of the awning from Phoenix Tent and Awning. The resulting shelter provides a unique space for contemplation or socializing, and the outdoor fireplace provides a perfect spot for she and her fellow students to reminisce about their experiences.

+ Maya Ward-Karet [8]

+ Taliesin [9]

Images ©Maya Ward-Karet

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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/helical-earthbag-shelter-built-by-taliesin-student/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/11/16/helical-earthbag-shelter-built-by-taliesin-student/helixa-shelter-11/

[2] design/build shelter program: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/02/design-build-bluff-sustainable-homes-for-people-who-need-them/

[3] earthbag construction method: http://inhabitat.com/2010/09/22/inhabitat-reader-builds-sustainable-homes-in-ghana/

[4] earthen shelter: http://inhabitat.com/2010/07/22/earthquake-resistant-earthships-for-haiti-disaster-relief/

[5] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/11/16/helical-earthbag-shelter-built-by-taliesin-student/helixa-shelter-14/

[6] rammed earth wall: http://inhabitat.com/2010/05/14/exceptional-earth-walled-home-is-a-desert-oasis/

[7] student project: http://inhabitat.com/2009/02/16/mod-fab-by-taliesin-west-studio/

[8] + Maya Ward-Karet: http://www.mayawk.com/shelter

[9] + Taliesin: http://www.taliesin.edu/

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