Our earth building team is now working on a new project! After only 4 weeks of work, the prototype mud hut (otherwise known as Phil’s Place) is already over 25% completed. ‘I’ve loved seeing it take shape, having been involved from the foundations, and I hope to see the project through to the final result in a couple of months. Most amazing has been to see how the set backs are turned into solutions’, said one of the team of volunteers.
The creative problem solving has seen an area considered too small for part of the living space turned into a built-in mud brick desk with a window offering a peaceful outlook. For the windows, the plan of glass bricks proved too expensive, so recycled soda-water bottles are being used: eco-friendly, functional and funky!
The hut is a prototype that will be replicated to construct about 15 living spaces around the new meditation hall to house long-term volunteers and residents looking for a little more self-sufficiency and privacy. The huts will feature a small kitchenette plus living and sleeping areas. Project manager Phil explained the design ‘The circular design was Julien’s concept … my idea of creating a hexagonal structure would have made it a lot easier to install electrics and plumbing, and to place the furniture!’
Phil is still considering what materials to use for the roof. He is looking for something cheap and ‘green’. Trees are not considered eco-friendly as they take around 40 years to re-grow, plus they are already pretty useful as they are! The roof of the new meditation hall utilized leaves, but the sub-structure was still made from wood. Phil considered bamboo, but that would need to be purchased, as the variety of bamboo on-site is not the right style.
The volunteers working with Phil are at New Life Foundation for a variety of reasons. Self-development, recovery, or simply to be involved in a spiritually mindful, eco-friendly community. They all agree that Phil is a motivating team leader who inspires individual creativity, passion and a sense of fun.
‘It’s really satisfying to see it grow so fast,’ said a team member. ‘In the future I’d like to build my own house out of mud. I’ve learnt what’s needed and the ratios now I’m inspired to mould it into my own design style, maybe in Africa … or for an igloo in Canada! But I’ve also learnt that I couldn’t do it on my own, the nature of this project is that it needs team effort.’
Anyone wanting to join the team of volunteers building the long-stay huts (or anyone with ideas for cheap and green ways to construct the roof) should email: firstname.lastname@example.org
–Many thanks to one of our volunteers for this guest post