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Students compete to design European Earthship

brighton earthship2

The Earthship, the radical, self-contained housing concept created by architect Michael Reynolds (and documented in the film GARBAGE WARRIOR), has become a worldwide phenomenon: over 1000 of these buildings now exist around the world. Many of them, despite their location, still bear a striking resemblance to the original Earthships first built in the New Mexico desert… just take a look at the photo above of one in Brighton, England. There’s nothing wrong with that, but a group of Northern Irish advocates for sustainable housing would like to see the concept reflect a European aesthetic… and are challenging students at the University of Ulster to come up with designs for a European Earthship.

A new organization, the Biotecture Network, with help from Invest NI, Biotecture Ireland Ltd., and Ash guitarist Mark Hamilton, is hosting a competition for students in the university’s Masters of Architecture program. Students will submit “design briefs and schematics of their ideas for a carbon-zero, self-sustaining house” that fulfill six principles:

  • renewable energy micro-generation
  • passive solar design with energy-efficient materials
  • use of local, natural, and recycled building materials
  • rainwater harvesting
  • contained sewage treatment
  • food production



The competition winners will receive £1,000 and a pair of VIP tickets to the 2012 Carling Weekend: Reading Festival.

Hamilton notes that the Earthship is the conceptual model, but contest founders want students to design houses that are distinctly European: “…what we are looking for is for the students to design something that would sell in a European market, with European design and cultural aesthetics. We want the students to be innovative and create.”

Got ideas on what an Earthship featuring “European design and cultural aesthetics” might look like? Share your thoughts with us… and check out examples of existing European Earthships at Earthship Biotecture.

via 4NI

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Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dominicspics/ / CC BY 2.0