Felixity (garlicfiend) wrote in earthwoodglass,

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Welcome to Earth, Wood, and Glass

This introductory post is a basic guide to the community, just to keep everybody on the same page, and to explain to the curious just what’s it’s about.

As I stated on the intro page, my current thoughts on housing were transformed by the writing of Malcolm Wells.. Mr. Wells made a revolutionary assertion which can be summarized thus:

The natural state of a property is superior to any structure you could build upon it.

In other words, a bare hilltop with little tufts of grass and bunnies is better than a cathedral. Underlying this assertion is a basic principle:

It’s not about you.

And it isn’t. It’s not about you, and it’s not about me, or any of us. 99% of modern building and architecture has nothing do with preserving the harmony of our natural world. We can plant gardens around our houses, but no matter what we do, no matter how whimsical or crafty the architecture, it’s still a just a big ugly box covered in toxic paint and smelling like humans to all the wildlife who might otherwise be there. Our architecture is driven by social and psychological concerns. Once we accept that it is not about us, the only solution is to get over it already. Deal with our issues internally, so that we are not inflicting them on the world around us.

Wells’ solution was the earth-sheltered house. As it stands, it is an excellent solution. A natural hilltop with some windows and a door is almost as good as a natural hilltop. But there were two things that I had to take issue with over and over again in his designs. First was the simple cost of creating a structure that could handle those kinds of earth loads. Second, and more importantly, was that his designs essentially created a concrete bubble, sealed and insulated against the surrounding earth by petrochemical products.

How far can we push the concept of get over it already? Can we do it in every phase of design and building, eliminating everything we can that is harmful to the earth? Can we build houses of earth, wood, and glass that will leave nothing but a gentle footprint on the earth, that will eventually decompose back into it? Can we design a house that meets all our most important human needs without feeding our diseases? A product of whimsy instead of neurosis?

This community is to explore the answers to those questions. If you are here to learn and contribute, then please join, contribute, and comment. We are glad to have you.

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