Earthship Biotecture: Building Homes with Recycled Materials

The flagstone entry and greenhouse pictured on the cover belie the fact that you are entering a beautiful environmentally sustainable home built with tires. Located in Taos, New Mexico this home was built using Earthship Biotecture, a building method conceived, designed and developed by architect Michael Reynolds that uses recycled materials.

Starting in the early seventies with a single recyclable material—cans—Reynolds’ designs evolved to incorporate thermal mass, passive solar and natural ventilation. The structural walls of the houses Earthship Biotecture now builds are formed with earth-packed scrap tires. These thermal mass “bricks,” weighing about 300 pounds each, are pounded into place and staggered like bricks to form the load-bearing walls.

Tire Recycling Equipment

The basic idea is to surround each living space with mass on three sides and line the south side of the building with windows and solar glazing that allows the sun to heat the inside floors and walls without using fossil fuels or wood.

From the outset, Michael Reynolds’ mission was to share his innovation and sustainable building concepts world-wide. Today, Earthship Biotecture carries out Michael’s mission with a year-round Visitors Center in Taos.

Earthship Biotecture Academy offers training in Earthship design principles, construction methods and philosophy. The Academy partners with Western Colorado University’s Environmental Masters Degree program. Earthship Youth Academy and International Academy programs make home ownership possible across all socio-economic structures. Nightly or weekly rentals at an Earthship house equipped with all the amenities of conventional housing are available.

© Scrap Tire News, October 2019