Building a Community Building From Sand, Clay, and Straw

Subhub is one of the newer buildings being constructed at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The building is being built using natural materials like clay, sand, and straw. Like many natural buildings at Dancing Rabbit, it is insulated with strawbales and uses earthen plasters to protect the bale walls from the elements. It’s intended to be a community building with shared resources and infrastructure so that people in the ecovillage don’t have to build all their systems in their own houses. In this video, Liz, the builder takes us through the construction site and explains the different building methods, the design elements, and the systems she has planned for this shared resource.

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What Chic STRAWBALE LIVING in an ECOVILLAGE is Like

Last time I toured this strawbale house at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, it was half done, and it was pretty impressive then. Now I’m back again with a tour of the finished house and there’s a new owner, Cat, to tell us about what it’s like to live in the house. Cat’s Cradle, as the house is known, provides examples of just about every method of natural building imaginable: cob, strawbale, earthen plaster, wattle and daub, cordwood walls, earthen plaster mosaics, bottle walls, lime plaster, passive solar design, and earthen floors. It’s a work of art with many artistic and aesthetic flares. As well, its passive solar design and round shape make it efficient as well as practical for its semiretired owner, Cat.

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5 Incredible Natural Buildings at a Radical Ecovillage

This is a tour of 5 of my favorite natural buildings at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. DR has nearly 40 natural buildings, making it one of the largest collections of natural buildings in one place in all of north America. There’s strawbale buildings, cob, earthen and lime plaster, earthen floors, timberframing, cordwood masonry, rocket mass heaters, wattle and daub, and light clay straw. And some of these are pretty swanky houses.

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Amazing Timberframe Strawbale House with Castle-like Interior

This amazing strawbale house located at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is one of my favorites in the village. There is so much to it and the design is so unique. It features beautiful timberframe with strawbale for wall structure and insulation. Lime plaster exterior and earthen interior makes for a pleasant aesthetic and some natural organic shapes. The earthen plaster interior and framing have been designed in places to create an almost castle-like look in some of the rooms. The earthen plaster interior walls are inlaid in places with glass shard mosaics.

But not only does the house have a unique beauty, it has many sustainable systems for providing for basic needs like running hot water from a cook stove or evacuated solar tubes, radiant floor heating, rainwater catchment, wood and passive solar heating.

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What Happened to This Lime Plaster Job? And How I Fixed It

How do you fix lime plaster gone wrong? Early in the building of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, when strawbale building was a budding technology, people tried some experimental stuff. Well, to be honest, people are often experimenting because not everyone that builds their first house has all the knowledge they need to do it right the first time. We all make mistakes, and the combining of earthen and lime plasters on strawbale exterior walls was one of those experiments that failed. In this video I show you what happens when you put lime plaster on top of earthen, and how it can be repaired to make a long lasting wall surface.

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What Happens When You Use Frozen Lime Putty in Lime Plaster?

This fall I started a little home improvement project on the Timberframe building at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The house had originally been plastered with earthen plaster on strawbale and lime plaster on top of the earthen plaster. This didn’t work so well and over the years the lime plaster has been cracking and peeling off the undercoat. I’d planned to buy all new lime for the project but then I found a barrel full of old slaked lime putty. This had been left out for many years and experience freezing and thawing many times.

I wondered, can you still use frozen lime putty? People around Dancing Rabbit had always spread the rumor that frozen lime putty was no good because it’s chemical structure had changed through the freezing. But I looked it up online and found that that isn’t true. So I decided to make use of that lime putty and redo part of the wall with it. How did it turn out? Watch the video.

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