A Rammed-Earth House Catches Wind

From on February 15, 2011 in Green Remodeling

rammed earth home

Last May, a group of 22 dedicated graduate students from the University of Colorado, Denver ventured out into beautiful southeastern Utah. Their mission? Build a totally sustainable rammed-earth house for a low-income family in Navajo Nation. And the results are as stunning as they are groundbreaking.

rammed-earth home

What the students built for Maxine Begay and her son is a completely off-grid house, which includes rammed earth construction, rainwater harvesting system, and a wind tower to cool the interior.

rammed-earth home students

The Windcatcher House includes local clay for its hand-built compressed brick, as well as the south- and east-facing wall facades. Thermal mass cools the home during the hot, dry summers, and soaks up heat during the very frigid winters. Rainwater is collected from the adjacent carport’s roof and gets reused for the garden.

rammed-earth home lighting

As with all Navajo Nation homes, this house is nowhere near a power grid, which makes relying on the surrounding earth even more useful and important. The Begays don’t have a car, so they plan to use the carport for an animal barn.

navajo rammed-earth home

The Windcatcher House incorporates the world around it for its seamless design, which embodies both traditional Navajo spirit of looking to the earth, as well as modern innovation that helps preserve it. Well done, Denver.

Via Inhabitat

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