Art Feature: Back to the Future: A second look at earthship principles

Published: April 2009 Vol. 13 Issue 3

photography & text by Ross Evertson

Earthship designed and built by Joe Callahan of Boulder, Colorado. Photos by Ross Evertson.
I was raised in the carpet and drywall world of suburban Denver.  The homes of my friends all looked and felt so similar to my own, each one was like a visit to a parallel universe (some of them even shared the exact same floor plan, and everyone decorated the same way—the primary difference was the odor, if the parents smoked, or if there was a baby). There was something comforting to the sameness at that age, but as I got older that sameness became almost depressing and it was rare for me to ever find that level of comfort in the home of anyone else, friend or stranger.

It was particularly bizarre, then, when I first stepped into an earthship. It did not look like any home I had ever been in before. Beneath the iconic south-facing floor to ceiling windows is an indoor garden, fed by greywater from the sinks and shower. The soft forms of the structure flow all around. As organic as the stucco walls feel, they are covering a traditional earthship building material—used automobile tires filled with tightly compacted dirt.

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