$300 Compressed Earth Block Hybrid House

One of my regular readers, Architect Joseph Sandy, recently submitted a design to the The $300 House Open Design Challenge. It uses CEBs (compressed earth blocks) for the lower portion of the walls and a light wood frame for the upper walls and roof – leveraging the best of both building methods. The roof would be covered with corrugated metal.

CEBs are made in a press – think giant garlic press without the holds. A earthen mixture is placed in the chamber and then using a giant lever the earth is compressed into a block. Below is a short video that demonstrates how CEBs are made.

There are just a few days left in this design competition… take a closer look at Joseph’s design. If you like his approach, be sure to vote. Thanks!

9 thoughts on “$300 Compressed Earth Block Hybrid House

    • Todd says:

      Google Michael Reynolds Earthship! His solution is to compact dirt into used tyres, creating effective thermal mass. He has incorporated anti-earthquake design into his structures. Very cheap housing and completely self heating and cooling!

    • alice says:

      There are some methods you can use to strengthen structures and keep the individual blocks from tumbling, but the blocks themselves are unlikely to come apart from just shaking. Compressed soil is not as subject to liquifaction and there is usually a binding material in the blocks as well. The looser the soil the more subject to liquifaction. Some interesting info at http://www.eartharchitecture.org Just enter earthquake in their quicksearch at upper right.

  1. Owen Geiger says:

    I published a blog post about CEB presses a short while ago that gives prices (hand operated vs. mechanized) for a brand in Thailand. Star Top presses are about half price of those at Auroville in India (world famous for CEB technology). Look closely at the photo on my blog post and compare to the video shown here and you’ll see a huge difference in quality.

  2. Lisa B-W says:

    Have you ever investigated any of the earthships? I don’t know how small some of them are – they are also a rammed-earth tech.

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