Earthbag homes are constructed by laying moist earth-filled bags in rows (like bricks) and then plastering over them to create a smooth stucco-like finish. The versatility of the bags and their high compressive strength makes for a myriad of designs, including arches, vaults and curvilinear walls. Due to their thermally-massive composition, earthbag walls also help regulate interior temperature swings, leading to increased comfort for occupants. They can also easily be built for earthquake zones.
In 2009, Morgan took the plunge on land in a community outside Asheville, North Carolina, building his off-grid dream home with his girlfriend for under $5,000. When asked why he chose a circular design, he explains “in earth building circles there is a saying: ‘round is sound.’ A round wall is structurally very stable and self-supporting and has less outside surface area so it’s more energy efficient.” He used the compass arm technique detailed in the book Earthbag Building which made the circular walls easy to construct.
More photos at AlternativeHomesToday.com.