We’ve got some great news on Inga’s House. We have succeeded in inviting Dipl.-Ing. Dittmar Hecken. He is the hands-on instructor from the Earth Building Course that Inga attended at the University of Kassel, in Germany. University of Kassel is the home of Prof. Dr. Gernot Minke‘s group – world leaders in earth construction theory and practice. You can also see Inga’s interview with Dr. Minke in a previous post. We recommend his seminal book on earth construction, Building with Earth: Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture, which came out earlier this year. The Europeans are decades ahead of America in earth construction, it seems.
Dittmar will provide us with the needed expertise to build a structure, out of CEBs – that will look like this structure from Tamera. Dittmar led one of the construction groups on this project, and the structure was designed by Gernot Minke:
This is major news for Factor e Farm. A roof of compressed earth block is a high technical accomplishment. The roof is the most expensive part of a house, so this makes economic sense as well – as our friends from Africa will tell you with respect to Nubian vaults. Plus, earth-sheltered housing like this is king of ecological biotecture, if you ask me. Here we’re combining ancient wisdom of earth building with modern CEB machines – open source, under one roof.
We’ll be offering North America’s first workshop on CEB vault construction – end of September, 2009. We’ll get Inga’s House out of it, and we aim to attain a basic level of mastery on CEB construction technique. The world gets full documentation of the process – including open source machinery – for replicability. Inga and the team are doing their homework. Stay tuned.
No, you don’t have to know that the catenary shape of a vault is actually a hyperbolic cosine function. But I bet there will be a large number of these structures popping up all over the Americas. We need to catch up to the rest of the world on this one.