An Earthbag World at 84!


Three Moons Earthbag World in Nevada

You might think building mud homes, especially earthbag houses, is age-dependent. But let me introduce you to Jehane Rucquoi, one of the most inspirational people I’ve met in the natural building world recently. Her creations will mash to a pulp any age-related limitations you harbour about earthbag construction. At 84 she’s not just building an earthbag house, but she’s founded and is constructing and entire off-grid world. It’s beautiful, daring and sustainable. 

The 3-Moons Project in Nevada

Nestled in the dusty landscapes of Arizona, a magical world of domes is being born. The 3 Moons Project is an inspiring exhibition of alternative building techniques. Jehane has been committed to creating this off-grid natural haven for years. Like all pioneers, she’s experienced her ups and downs. Initially she began the project somewhere else, and then had to move. But now 3 Moons has settled near Nevada, and is growing.

Earthbag Dome Construction

Jehane is very experienced in earthbag building. Indeed she met the famous Iranian architect Nader Khalili, who invented the technique. Earthbag inspired her to such an extent, she stayed at Cal-Earth and studied with Khalili himself for almost two years. Her speciality is definitely domes.

Jehane and friends have already constructed two perfect earthbag domes at Three Moons. The design is fascinating; one is covered with a deck (a brilliant idea because the deck protects the dome from sun and rain), the other is topped by a cupola. Both domes are completely naturally plastered with earth, clay, lime and sand to create a rustic finish on both exterior and interior walls.

Jehane's Earthbag Dome 

Earthbag Building Basics

For those who don’t know how earthbag building works, it’s a system that utilises polypropylene, burlap or hemp sacks filled with moist clayey earth. The sacks are then laid end to end and tamped flat with something smooth and heavy. 2 courses of barbed wire are then run between each layer of bags. The barbed wire grips the sacks preventing them from sliding in an earthquake. Earthbag building is sometimes called superadobe, and has been proven both on the shake table and around the world to be one of the toughest, most earthquake resilient construction methods around. If you'd like to know more about it, have a look at my step by step earthbag building guide.

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