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Desert Shelters and Architecture

This is a discussion on Desert Shelters and Architecture within the Preppers Retreat and Lodge forums, part of the General Prepper and Survival Talk category; This year my 11 year old daughter got to participate in a Frank Lloyd Wright architecture class through her school (6th grade). One of the ...

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Thread: Desert Shelters and Architecture

  1. #1
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    Red face Desert Shelters and Architecture

    This year my 11 year old daughter got to participate in a Frank Lloyd Wright architecture class through her school (6th grade). One of the projects they did was bring common household items to school to build a mock-up of a desert shelter. I didn't really understand the assignment until yesterday.

    Yesterday was the culmination of her semester of FLW-Architecture. Since we live in North Phoenix we got to go to see Taliesin-West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright and his academy of design. There is a whole history here that I found fascinating but since it isn't germane to survival, I'll let you Google it on your own if you are interested.

    The part that IS germane is this... FLW had a philosophy that to be a great architect, you had to be involved in architecture from the concept through to completion. So he often required students to participate in building the structures they were designing. He believed it would help them understand where design flaws are created and how to rectify them. When they started building Taliesin-West, the students had to live in tents that like 4 sided pyramid shaped canvass teepees. They were white canvass and about 7x7 on the base with a center area about 8' tall. As they made progress, some of the architecture students started to recycle building materials to enhance the pad sites where their tents were located.

    Eventually this evolved into full fledged permanent structures on site and the students still live in them today. On site they have some 80+ pad sites but only about 26 are inhabitable. Every student is afforded the opportunity to live in an existing structure, or build a new one.

    If they build, here are some of the criteria:
    1. Must fit on an existing pad site - about 200 to 300 sq feet.
    2. They have a budget of $2000.
    3. If they need to exceed the budget, they must foot that overage.
    4. Buildings need to be green (recycled materials help to offset the expense) and some building product companies donate material to test how well it works.
    5. No electricity, or running water. These buildings are heated via a fireplace (usually one from a former camper that stayed there and then the structure is built around that fireplace. Cooling is through some natural means, but students are only here in the winter, from May through September they are in Wisconsin.
    6. Here is the big one... If you build it, you live in it for 6 months. If it has design flaws, oh well!

    This is to reinforce FLW's full circle philosophy to design. The students design it, fund it, source the materials, build it, live in it, maintain it, and eventually hand it on to the next class.

    Touring the facility where the students live out in the desert, was fantastically eyeopening. I was already moved and inspired by the Mystery Castle in South Phoenix because of the elaborate structure constructed entirely from salvaged and recycled materials for next to nothing and now the Frank Lloyd Wright campus at Taliesin West.

    Mystery Castle - History of the Mystery
    Mystery Castle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation
    Taliesin West - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    ================================================== =========================

    So I tell you all of that to tell you this...

    Up to now I've been considering some BOL out near the Mogollon Rim Country of Arizona. Something remote and less for BOL than just pure nature therapy. A place to call my own and go camping and get away from it all. But to maximize the use, I need to minimize the amount of prep to go up there. That is where the idea of a "permanent tent" came into play. Not an actual tent and far less than a cabin. Something I can lock up a few goodies (mostly stuff too bulky to carry back and forth) and sleep in if it gets cold. Also something more bear-proof than a tent too.

    Up to now that has consisted of a Portable Shed.
    Desert Shelters and Architecture-is_ssb_body_gallery_1b.jpg

    But buying, transporting, assembling it is almost $6000 to $7000 then you have to insulate it and give it some creature comforts like a loft and eventually a rocket mass heater. Not to mention... These are hard as hell to camouflage to avoid drawing the attention of trespassers and vandals. Even painted in blending colors, that shed stands out. But look at what the FLW students have done with between $2000 and $5000? Even if some of them renovated and improved a $3000 structure and added another $4000 to it for a total of $7000 they are still better off, more beautiful, and blend in much better than the $7000 barn that needs another $7000 to outfit it the way you want it.

    Some of the students will readily admit that their desert structures, while stunningly beautiful, lack some of the necessary good sense features that would make them more comfortable, yet others are perfectly content and can find no comfort / livability flaws in the designs of past and present.

    These two systems / facilities (the castle and FLW) have completely changed my outlook on BOL structures. I now realize I need to go back to the drawing board and work on some masonry skills to compliment my carpentry skills. I also need to get some welding experience.

    What have you seen for great BOL formats and layouts that blend into the landscape and take advantage of natural camo as well as natural resources and make living sans-power more convenient?
    bigdogbuc likes this.
    KG7NDC

    The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper.
    Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself.

  2. #2
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    I live in Wisconsin Frank Lloyd Wright was pretty big deal around here. He was a poster child for the liberal University system.
    Not one of his projects ever came in near budget, The roofs leaked and most of his designs required a real architect to come in and fix it.
    Johnson wax building still to this day is a mess. Frank was a fraud invented by an education system that loved his life style.
    Homes he designed here required years of work to keep them around.
    There were and are far better than him.
    New life as a house husband, major shift in duties.

    Karl Marx said, "Destroy their culture, rewrite their history. Ruin their art and literature, and defame their heroes, by offering fabrications to scandalize that which they considered good.
    After reading this Obama said I am on it.

  3. #3
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    WOW! That is great balancing information! Thanks!
    KG7NDC

    The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper.
    Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself.

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  5. #4
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    I will be clicking through and reading more, but my home in NV which is a long ways from anywhere probably cost about $20k. It is a little more than 2000 square feet but the primary ingredient was sand bags that were then sealed in a thick (and costly) exterior and interior stuco / concrete. My brother built it with me and we're looking at being able to build a second cottage for about $5k that would be 600-700 square feet.
    BamaBoy101 likes this.

  6. #5
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    I was thinking compressed straw bales coated in some sort of stucco-ish stuff.
    BamaBoy101 likes this.
    KG7NDC

    The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper.
    Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTGallop View Post
    I was thinking compressed straw bales coated in some sort of stucco-ish stuff.
    Straw bale homes are nothing new idea goes way back. They compress the bales even more than for feed . When done they seem to be well insulated and very strong . There have been shown on over the years
    New life as a house husband, major shift in duties.

    Karl Marx said, "Destroy their culture, rewrite their history. Ruin their art and literature, and defame their heroes, by offering fabrications to scandalize that which they considered good.
    After reading this Obama said I am on it.

  8. #7
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    Good stuff but not as sturdy as sand bags, it might be as affordable though. We simply added a "cup" of concrete mix to a very affordable stucco mix, combined with a good deal of water and dirt with a strong clay base and the stucco like exterior / interior is nice, but I have to admit I don't know how well its going to hold up. Right now its about 7 months old and holds heat very well in a cold winter.


    Quote Originally Posted by GTGallop View Post
    I was thinking compressed straw bales coated in some sort of stucco-ish stuff.

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTGallop View Post
    I was thinking compressed straw bales coated in some sort of stucco-ish stuff.
    We built a friends BOL with straw, quickcrete, sand and clay. I don’t have the exact recipe but straw was stacked and spiked together and then a slurry was applied and then let harden. Then a thicker mix applied. The thing stays 70 degrees year round just about. Powered with solar and warmed with a thermal mass stove. Many creature comforts were added as well as a basement of sorts.
    I am here to teach what I know and learn what I can everyday. When one assumes he knows everything then he has proven himself a fool.

  10. #9
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    As weird as it may sound, or look, try this one on YouTube. I've seen everything from mobile mini-houses, to tents that are like palaces, to buses. Pretty cool stuff.

    Kirsten Dirksen - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdogbuc View Post
    As weird as it may sound, or look, try this one on YouTube. I've seen everything from mobile mini-houses, to tents that are like palaces, to buses. Pretty cool stuff.

    Kirsten Dirksen - YouTube
    The bath house int he beginning of this video is like the one I am going to build. We are going to have a bath/shower inside and outside for different times of year. He is doing the same thing sauna wise as we want to do.
    \
    Check out my blog Hidden Content Also SurvivingTheBreaks on Facebook.. My radio show will be goin live next week on Hidden Content so be sure to listen out.

 

 
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