Living Together in Harmony with Nature

Photo: H. Ouwersloot
Model of a House for the Future

This model (scaled 1 : 20) is a detailed proposal for a way to live together in harmony with nature. The house can be build by a group of people as a form of re-creation. There is much more fun in building a house together, than to go jogging and burn up a lot of energy.


This model is designed for northern climates, where the sun heat can be collected in a greenhouse facing south and stored in the north wall, which is insulated with straw bales. The frame of the house is made of round wood poles and knotted with ropes, although metal joints can be applied (see photo to the right). The fill and body of walls, floors and ceilings is adobe (a mixture of clay, sand and straw), which is applied on a weaving of willow branches (photo to the right below). Such techniques are reminiscent of so called ‘Fachwerk’ houses and wood frame houses with wattle and daub fill. Therefore the design ideas are syntheses of futurism and traditionalism.


Fire place

north unfinished

Chimnee A cave like bath stores excessive heat of the greenhouse and fireplaces, as do the adobe masses (see photo’s to the left). The roof can be finished with thatch, which is grounded in the adobe finish of the wattle and daub outside surface. These are ancient techniques, which can be applied for the future.
North view


How to make it happen 
Exhibition An other view of the future  was part of the environmental manifestation "het nationale milieu spektakel".
1. Exhibits

The model has been exhibited on various occasions along with a poster explaining the ideas that form the starting point for such a building. This alongside many other posters explaining another view of the future with respect for authenticity and nature.
Many eyes and hands "saw" the model house, even the hands of a blind man.

Bee house with straw-clay blocks and someone (right) preparing  the light straw-clay mix.
2. Workshops

In a variety of workshops many ideas were realized or experimented with such as the bee house that was realized at “the Little Earth” center.

Wattle and daub application on side wall.
Apart from giving through the exhibit a not Modern view of the future architects’ studio Enno Wiersma manifested itself also in the building of a bee-house. This bee-house then was given to “De Kleine Aarde” in Boxtel, a successful center in the Netherlands for environmental issues, and rebuilt with adobe walls through a workshop.

The 3 segments of the wood framed walls were filled in with straw-clay mixtures, each in a different technique. The frame of the side wall was filled with wattle and daub, the clay-sand mix with little chopped straw plastering the willow weaving. The long wall of 2 segments was filled with a light straw-clay mixture. Laying prefabricated blocks made one part, for the other half of the wall the straw-clay substance was stamped in a gliding mould after previous preparation.

Building a shelter at the North Sea beach with willow branches.

3. Building a shelter

Building a shelter is like building a house; in both cases it creates spaces. It makes you aware; that nature provides you everything and a good working house can be very simple. 

Building a moon lodge at creative spiritual center ‘Shamballa’, Bassevelde, Belgium
Working in the nature to create a shelter lets one feel the need of a protection against the surrounding environment, but also in harmony with it.
Greenhouse on deck in Berkeley, Cal.

4. Improving home interior climate

The home interior can be immediately improved by bringing earth into an interior space. It literally starts to breath in the sense that the air humidity starts to change and after the drying of the earth substance starts to mediate the humidity to a healthy level.
Water container for collecting rainwater.
The greenhouse at the deck extending the house in Berkeley was very hot in the day and could be cold at night. Earth material was brought into the interior space to moderate the extremes and protect the aloe collection against freezing.

The interior improvements on the greenhouse were partly realized through a workshop. This included the making of the curved adobe wall and lightweight adobe straw insulation around the plants.

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