Prepper Forum / Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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.
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?
 
  • Like
Reactions: bigdogbuc

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,643 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
WOW! That is great balancing information! Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,373 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I was thinking compressed straw bales coated in some sort of stucco-ish stuff.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BamaBoy101

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,643 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,373 Posts
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.

I was thinking compressed straw bales coated in some sort of stucco-ish stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
560 Posts
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.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,112 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,508 Posts
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.
\
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
In the desert I would build down. Just 10 - 15 feet below the surface is 55 - 60 degrees F. You could add North facing skylights to add natural light without the heat. That kind of location offers a lot of advantages.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
965 Posts
So the title of your thread says desert then you mention the FLW structures but then you mention the Rim. Which is it?
Cause your structures are gonna be different on the rim and the desert.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,123 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So the title of your thread says desert then you mention the FLW structures but then you mention the Rim. Which is it?
Cause your structures are gonna be different on the rim and the desert.
Good point. I should distinguish between low and high desert. And you are correct about different structures. I guess that's not a question, I can answer yet because I don't have the land to put it on. But when I get it, I'll have more solid direction. Until then, I'm keeping an open mind.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top