Earthship Biotecture – Day Four

Polishing Bottle Wall. Also called ‘Bottle Work.’

How to Read Drawings

         It was hella hard to keep up today: symbols, scale etc. Our bodies are aching and our minds are very full. Mom came out of surgery okay, she is doing very well. 

There are many different drawing types: Maps & Site Plans, Sections, Floor Plans etc. There are no perspective in drawings, they are orthographic. A schematic is info not to scale. Elevation says more about height than depth (duh.) Drawings communicate the literal items such as tires, dirt etc. 

The Flow line is the direction of water in the area. Water goes perpendicular to contour lines. 

You want to pile dirt around a building when leveling. Buttress a wall is battering a wall. Topography can be found via googles maps to create a plan. When starting an Earthship build, you have to coordinate with the Architect (builder), Engineer (specialist) and Inspector (county and code.) Planning department looks on the inside and the Building department looks on the outside. 

Purlins are strips of wood and usually two feet. 

Next we have Phil… 

(My brain was overloaded and I drew a lot during his session) 

Earthship Types

Pit House

  • 6 foot deep hole earth cliff
  • you can build in desert because there is no ground water 
  • beam to spread load (viga) made of standing dead trees
  • Latillas- cut in woods of Aspen
  • 4 in. white insulation
  • roof membrane is two layers of plastic
  • checks- cracks in viga
  • no thermal wrap
  • 50-80 in summer and chronically floods


  • Designed for Taos
  • Patio door replacements
  • Suncatcher- First commissioned piece
  • Zero structural concrete 
  • Scrapwood Cabinetry
  • Dennis Weaver was a huge client of Earthships
  • Reach was the 1st intentional community with a lot of problems
    • County shut it down
    • firetrucks, water and other utilities could not get to it
  • Flaw of U-Module is the valley 
  • Area 52 was the final U-Module 
  • Needed Grid power to power well 

Job Site

Today Marilou and I built on the bottle wall a bit. 

  1. Pick the bottle that you think would be a good fit
  2. Put on your gloves and make concrete: 3 parts sand, cement and one part water
  3. Create a ‘half pipe’ with mortar. Mortar and Plaster is different, plaster is smoother. 
  4. Put bottle on the ‘half pipe’ and make sure it’s plum with the rest of the bottles. 
  5. You can probably only go up 4 courses before it needs to dry.

It was tricky but a lot of fun and will probably be my favorite thing to do. I also offered to draw Gaelan’s lost cat, I hope that wasn’t weird. He’s nice and I know what it’s like losing your pet. 

– Bull 


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