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Casita de Tierra

Our pioneer project, Casita de Tierra in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, showcases the natural building techniques of a rubble trench foundation, earthbag construction, natural plasters, earthen floors, and a composting toilet.

Our earthbag wall system consists of locally available, cost-efficient, polypropylene bags that are filled with a formula of clay and aggregate unearthed from our building site. The bags are stacked like bricks in running bonds, which are strengthened by courses of barbed wire laid between each row, and tamped into place. The walls are then plastered with a mix composed of clay, sand, soil and straw, and are followed by gypsum and lime renders to create attractive walls.

The casita exhibits a load-bearing wall system demonstrating that thick earthen walls, with no rebar or cement, can support a roofing structure. We, also, installed earthen floors, created an indoor dry-composting toilet system, utilized local woods for the furniture, routed all grey water to the outdoor garden, and maximized air flow by including cross-ventilating screened windows below the natural palm frond and cane roof.

Casita de Tierra exemplifies an economically efficient, structurally sound, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally kind, and socially responsible home.

Gallery Click on photos to read the captions

To complete this project, Casa de Tierra teamed up Nubia Mireya Garzon Barrero, a specialist in the Environment, Health and Sanitation. With her help, we were included in the Pro-Africa Conference 2010, which recognized a global effort to conserve natural resources by integrating non-conventional building materials into the construction industry.

Watch the presentation of the Pro-Africa Conference 2010:
- Download Part 1
- Download Part 2