London's Earth Creature is a dome-shaped playscape that was designed and built by eco-build specialists Small Earth and pupils at the Hounslow Heath Infant and Nursery School in just six weeks. The structure, which is made of adobe, was built for the Festival of the World on the South Bank of the River Thames. The playscape is eco-friendly, earthquake resistant and affordable, and it gave the city's smallest architects an opportunity to learn about one of the world's best sustainable building materials.
Small Earth has been creating low-impact landmark buildings in several locations around the world including Nepal, India, Zimbabwe, Brussels and England. For the Earth Creature at the Southbank’s Hayward Gallery they received help from Hounslow Heath School, who already got their own adobe shelter. Designed for learning outdoors, sheltering from the elements or for a enjoying some isolation time, Small Earth’s Super Adobe buildings are strong and beautiful.
Iranian builder Nader Khalili developed Super Adobe in 1984 in response to NASA’s call for housing designs for future human settlements on the Moon and on Mars. But the long fabric tubes filled with adobe — earth, sand, cement or lime — shelters have been used for decades, primarily for refuge as bunkers during war times (filled with sand). The compressed adobe polypropylene tubes are usually take the shaoe of domes but can also have single and double-curved walls. Strong, fun and easy to build, low-tech and aesthetically interesting, Small Earth’s creature will sure inspire kids to be sustainable architects.
Photos © Ana Lisa Alperovich for Inhabitat