If you are looking for inspiration, look no further than One Earth Design. It will completely change forever the way we think about building.
Living in South Africa as we do with its Mediterranean climate, long sunny days, rainfall and wind patterns, we are ideally situated to think about incorporating green architecture and the principles of passive solar energy and thoughtful use of water management into our design and architecture.
Joaquin Karcher is a master of green architecture and his designs are out of this world.
Specialising in the use of mostly natural building materials, Joaquin who co-wrote the International Building Code in the US for this technique, says that “Compressed Earth Block, Adobe, Straw Bale and Light Clay are the Green Building materials of first choice. They are the lowest in embodied energy and provide an unsurpassed indoor air quality and are extremely cost effective”.
When I visited the Muizenberg Cob House, I could feel it, the walls felt like they were living and breathing. And this, says Joaquin on his website, is the ideal wall. It IS “breathable” and “using materials from the earth like Adobe, Compressed Earth Block and mud plasters, due to their unique ability to absorb and release large amounts of humidity out of the air is what we should be striving for to live in a healthy environment”.
High energy efficiency is another area that Joaquin considers vital. Living in this part of the world, as we do in South Africa, with its Mediterranean climate and sunshine for a good part of the year, we should be doing this too. One Earth Design incorporates passive solar principles creatively to take advantage of this.
On the website you can also find sketches of pre-drawn house plans incorporating all the principles of green building into the plan as well as a number of completed and in-progress projects that One Earth Design are busy with.
The photographs on this site are just some of the exquisite designs and architecture that Joaquin has kindly given me permission to publish. Click on the thumbnail images to see these in all their beauty and colour.
Before you go any further with your house plan, please visit One Earth Design. It will completely challenge all your preconceived ideas on design and architecture.