Now, Michael Reynolds
(or the “Garbage Warrior” — I like to call him the Oscar the Grouch of architecture
), the visionary behind New Mexico
-based Earthship Biotecture
, has taken his self-sufficient, "radically sustainable" housing concept to Haiti, a country that may not be in the headlines as much these days but is still digging out and rebuilding after January’s devastating earthquake.
According to an article
in The Wall Street Journal, 64-year-old Reynolds visited Haiti
earlier this month and — never one to rest on his laurels — got right to work. Within four days, with the help of a small team from Earthship Biotecture and nonprofit group Grassroots United
, Reynolds rounded up a crew of 40 eager locals, ages 4 to 50, to pitch in and construct a 120 square-foot earthship under his guidance. Like other earthships, the earthquake- and hurricane-proof abode is built from dirt-filled tires (the standard earthship building blocks), plastic bottles, and other waste materials.
Although the Haitian earthship prototype isn't complete, Reynolds plans to return to Haiti in October to add solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system, flush toilets, and other features
to the home that will make it less primitive and more in line with the more than 1,000 existing earthships scattered across the U.S. and Europe. From there, Reynolds hopes to construct an entire village of earthships outside of Port-au-Prince where, according to Reynolds
, the “ … buildings would provide their own power, their own water, their own sewage (systems).”
Reynolds, who also visited the Andaman Islands in the wake of the 2004 tsunami, is optimistic that the earthship concept will catch on in Haiti and serve as an low-cost, super eco-friendly, and disaster-resilient housing option. In addition to providing shelter, he also believes that community-built earthshapes can provide a much-needed boost of morale among Haitians. He remarks
on the first earthship-building process: “They built the building! The real thing that shows it’s possible for them to do it is that they did it.”
to read more about Earthship Biotecture's Haiti Disaster Relief efforts, view more images, and to donate to the cause. Want an intimate tour of an earthship? Check out guest blogger David Quilty
's two-part story
on what it's like to vacation in one.