Earthship Biotecture

[Earthship Biotecture]

Organic Earthship floor plan inspired by the form of a mollusk.


[Michael Reynolds’ design for biotecture or “radically sustainable buildings,” resulted in Earthship, a habitat constructed of natural and recycled materials which limits the production of waste. Just like biomimicry attempts to imitate, biotecture utilizes actual natural phenomenons in order to provide necessities, such as insulation, for a home.  Earthship redefines the traditional home, and is designed on the philosophy that the “home [should] care for the inhabitants” rather than the inhabitants caring for the home. Reynolds implements this in his design through fully integrating the design with nature– for example, the Earthship homes are surrounded by a thermal wrap of soil which provides thermal stability, among other elements that make them independent of interconnected systems such as plumbing or heating.  Because of the design’s close integration with nature, and the fact that the design seeks to imitate building systems through natural effects (like stack effect) it seems like it is decidedly organic architecture. Even the name, biotecture, implies its relationship to organicism. Additionally, the design for the Earthship homes are ever-evolving as new designs are being developed constantly. Although Earthships were more popular as a housing option in the 1970s when the concept emerged, they are still being built today. However, in today’s society, Earthships are mainly being built in third world countries by design build teams rather than providing a common solution implementable around the world. Biotecture’s organic nature and the fact that Earthships provide shelter mainly to those who are in dire need of it rather than universally, it is easy to see that a practical design– ie. one that is affordable, self-sufficient, and ecologically responsible– is not something desired by the masses. Perhaps organicism can only be appreciated and desired when it is restricted to form, not to both form and function.

— [Kamila Buraczynski]


[“Blogs » Author » Michael Reynolds.” Earthship Biotecture – Radically Sustainable Buildings. (accessed September 4, 2013).] [This blog is updated by Michael Reynolds himself, and provides the reader with his insights, poetry, goals, and updates regarding volunteer builds around the world.]

[“Earthship Biotecture – Radically Sustainable Buildings.” Earthship
Biotecture – Radically Sustainable Buildings.
(accessed September 6, 2013).]
[This is the official website for Earthship biotecture. It provides goal outlines, current projects, builds, seminars, and information on the Earthship Academy.]

[“Earthship Biotecture – YouTube.” YouTube. (accessed September 5, 2013).
[This YouTube video explains Earthships and the concept behind them in a visual way. It is particularly helpful in providing imagery of completed Earthship homes as well as what kind of materials go into making them.

[“Earthship Plans.” Dream Green Home Plans. (accessed September 6, 2013).] [Dream Green Home Plans provides plans for some of the Earthships as well as information on the homes. This site was useful in explaining the various types of Earthships available, requirements for building an Earthship, and the price ranges for the various styles.