9781890132194 / 1890132195

The Earth-Sheltered House: An Architect's Sketchbook (Real Goods Solar Living Book)


Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing Company



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About the book:

The striking common sense of the author's perspective on design and the building process is based on millennia of use of earth-sheltered homes by animals and humans, using the earth to warm in winter and cool in summer. A cartoon on the book jacket summarizes Wells's perspective. One panel is called "20th Century," and has four steps of traditional building: love nature, kill it, build building, plant grass. The second panel, called "21st Century," says: love nature, leave it alone, find ruined land, build underground, restore natural habitat.

Wells's remarkable and imaginative architectural drawings, sketches, and landscaping and structural design plans are surrounded by his handwritten commentary about Earth-friendly building and design, cryptic remarks and humorous asides that make this book a pleasure to browse or read cover to cover. He offers a breathtaking assortment of some of the most creative and unusual home and building designs ever assembled in one book; site-appropriate structures for both urban and rural settings; and delightfully imaginative, dramatic, simple, and highly complex buildings for all purposes. Some are fully underground structures, some partially earth-sheltered, but all make the best use of light sources, designed to benefit from the sun and seasonal changes, and to protect or restore the natural habitat around and above them.

Wells's designs seem almost fanciful, but are indeed based on practical considerations and currently usable techniques and materials, helping open up a whole new concept of building based on one of the oldest known: caves and burrows. These are "caves and burrows" of soaring imagination and creative, 21st century brilliance. --Mark A. Hetts

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