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Work in progress

After a few weeks of preparations and gathering of supplies, mostly bottles and tires, the raising of the land is now complete, and we have spent the first two weeks building the first buildings of the art school, and here are some photos to show you guys what we have gotten done so far!

We started by putting all the gathered bottles in the little house that the previous owners left behind. This house will eventually be torn down and replaced, but for now, we keep our stuff there, and our cambodian crew stays there, keeping everything safe.

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Let Us Create co-operate with a lot of businesses in Sihanoukville, and they use their truck to get us materials from around the city. Finally all that beer drinking makes sense ;)

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We bought metal for our geodesic dome, and then measured, cut, smashed and drilled it into the four lengths required.

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Once the raising of the land was complete, we assembled the geodesic dome, which is a modified (to get a straight bottom line) 3/8 th’s dome, do reduce surface area, and to get less roof height. The dome has a diameter of 8 meters.

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Once the dome was put together, we marked out the spots for the supporting pillars, and went on to pour the pillars, to increase the hight, so that we can raise the interior of the house by 30cm, to be safe from flooding.

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Once the pilars where done, we covered the dome in sown together rice bags, and then proceedded to cover it in chicken wire to arm the cement that will go on it. The holes are going to be windows eventually, and there is a window at the very top as well, which will give us heaps of natural light, and great air circulation.

IMG_0855 Using a silicone tube as a builders level, we measure out both finished floor level, and the starting point on the bottle bricks, we then used double bottles to build a foundation between the pillars.

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At the same time as we are working on the dome, the wood frame kitchen and restaurant are taking shape, also with double bottle foundations. The building will get a second story in October, so that we can add accommodation for volunteers etc, but for now we are putting a simple roof on it.

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About 20 cm above finished floor level, we are building with bottle bricks in a nice pattern all around the geodome, between the pillars, which will hopefully inspire the children to be creative.

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Building an art school for kids!

Today we had another meeting with the NGO Let Us Create, who run an outreach program and arts activities for kids in Sihanoukville, And they are getting funds together, to build a brand new site, with a reception, an office building, a nursery for about 30 kids, An art school, an art studio, another class room for about 30 people, computer room, library, kitchen and eating area for 120 people etc!

Earthship Cambodia is privileged to be able to be building this fantastic creative space with them, with Earthships and Earthship related techniques and designs.

We’re doing it in two sets, one starting april 7, and running for about a month and a half, and the second one starting late September and running for about three months.

We’ll be looking for volunteers for the first session, and lots of volunteers for the second session, if you are interested, Let Us Create will soon be taking sign-ups for the second session.

If you are in south east Asia now, or soon, and want to volunteer for the first part of the build, roughly a month to a month and a half, contact us!

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Second Earthship Started!

We have now started to layout the foundation for the second Earthship, and started the collection of bottles, tires and other material that we will need. The building will be a combination of the Earthship school of doing things, and the world of geodesic domes. The owners (Dani and Doug from Norway) have therefore named it the Tiltship!

We’ll be working on this for the next month or so, so if you feel like doing some work and learning new things, come by! We, the 9 volunteers working on the build, all worked on the main earthship before this!

And so we have finished it.

As we sit in front of our creation, we smile. We smile because its now finished. We are waiting for the monks to arrive, to bless our building and the spirits of the land.

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And the final product is an absolute magic and beauty,  8000 bottles were cleaned out from the beach and the streets and turned into this wall. An additional 300 + car tires, + 3000 lunch boxes and huge piles of scrap bottles and glas went into this beautiful building.

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The walls have been painted, the side walls have been fixed, a solar system consisting of a 100w panel, a 10a controller and a 100aH sealed deep cycle battery is installed. The lights turn on, the pumps to the re circulation pump runs, the pump for the grey water to both bathrooms run.

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The plants are in, both in the planter outside the doors, but also all around, sporting banana trees, chilli plants, lemongrass, aloe vera and a series of other food like plants.

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Thank you Cambodia, we have learned so much from you and your people, and now its time to pay back! We have been contacted by a series of NGO’s, to have visits to the earthship, but also to have workshops in bottle cutting and assembly, solar power and tyre pounding.

Last but not least, we had  to bless the symbol for our work. The tyre, the shovel, the sledge hammer and the spirit level.

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Working on finishes,

We’re moving along nicely, and have gotten pretty far with our last bits, being painting and landscaping, but here is a review of what we did last last week!

 

We finished the grey water planter with standpipes, a couple of ones for water in, and a couple for water out. We also have cement standpipes where the pumps will go, one for re circulation and one for pumping grey water to the toilet containers.

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We also built boxes for grey water in, with a simple filter.

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The walls look amazing, on this picture almost finished, just needs floating and painting.

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Sidewalls being completed, with a round tyre window, the tyre is covered with rebar and cardboard, so that the tyre will pop out once the cement is hardened, and will leave the rebar in place.

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We also went to Phnom Penh, to buy solar stuff, and we now have a 100w panel, a 10A controller and a 100aH sealed deep cycle battery, plus lights and cables etc, from our new friends at http://www.solarenergy-sec.com.

More info and pictures of the finished earthship coming early next week!

Nearing completion,

Roof decking and inner wall structures done, and Cambodian style bamboo-weave finish has gone up on the sealing.

We put shaped rebar in the walls to make it stronger and to make shaping the color of the wall easier, and we have almost finished the front bottle wall.

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We have also put in the main pluming into the floor of the building, Grey- and black-water is separated! Grey-water can therefore be reused to water the plants in the grey-water-planter, and to flush the toilet with!

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The grey-water planters have been dug, and connected, and we have started to fill them with gravel and cut off bottles. We have tested the grey-water system by pouring in water, and its working.

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In the coming week we hope to come close to a finished build, more pictures and updates to come!

Tyre work done!

Another few days have now passed, and we have gotten a lot of stuff done! The 10th course of tyres is in, and we have bolted pins into the top three layers of tyres, and cemented the pins into a bond beam at the top.

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As per usual, the bottle bricks are heaping up at a staggering paste.

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The next big thing is that we have now put the roofing and post in to the building, and are also building door frames and other details.

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Today was also the first day of packing the spaces in the wall with cement and the left over parts of the bottles, which was a lot of fun!

 

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First week of work

It is only the beginning of our second full week and we have already completed 7 full courses of tires, Only 2 more to go, which we expect to finish tomorrow. As we grow upwards, we are also putting a burm on the back and sides of the building to support the building, and also getting us easier access to the tyres for pounding etc.

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We have installed the ventilation tubes on the third level of tyres, which will later supply us with ample ventilation through out the two rooms of the building. The tubes are running inside the burial of the building to add to the cooling effect of the burm, and run alongside the water tanks that will be supplied with water from the rain water catchers. The water will then be cycled through out the building with low energy 12V pumps.

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We have been working alongside 5 local Cambodian builders, who have already mastered the craft of tire-pounding. They will now be able to use this new and inexpensive technique for themselves and others in the area, as well as teaching it to locals in other provinces.

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Amidst the tire-pounding, bottle bricks are being continuous made. We have already removed 5,000 glass bottles from the dump, in addition to the 2,000 collected from local bars and restaurants. We have also received 90 kg of used cardboard paper from local bars and the local landfill, and we expect to receive heaps of used styrofoam as well, to be used as insulation in the roof.

 

Starting the work

We have now been working on site for five days, and a lot of exiting things have gotten done! To start with, we have collected a huge amount of garbage in the shape of bottles, tyres and cardboard. We’ve set up cutting stations for bottles, and to date we have cut roughly 1500 of them. We’ve also updated our tools to our needs including sledgehammers, pickaxes, hoes, sharpies, measuring tapes, hatchets, levels, and a water level using clear silicon tubing (Used to shoot in levels on the land, and also tyres).

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In our garbage collecting, we have cleaned both ends of Otres Beach, and what is known as Otres Village, and we are now in contact with the village boss, who runs the garbage collection, and he will start sorting the garbage because of our project!  Additionally, all the bottles, styrofoam and cardboard will be brought our way. This is a good first step to a cleaner Cambodia, and we hope we have planted a seed in the minds of people, as a lot of the locals are keen to come and check out what we are doing!

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We have also adressed the potential issue of the building shifting because during rainy season the water level is just a few cm under or even over the land. So we have dug a 50cm trench under where we are putting the tyre wall, and filled it with boulders, that have then been smashed, levelled, and covered in a cement and sand mix. This will serve as a solid base with ample drainage, and we are starting to place and pound the first couple of courses of tyres tomorrow.

The production of bottle bricks continues, and we now have roughly 750 of them, and we will continue to cut, clean, dry and assemble them.

We are now 15 workers on site, including me and the more experienced crew, and our veteran Cambodian crew, with a few more on their way.

Start date and sourcing

As we approach the start date, January 10th, we’ve started to look for and gather the necessary materials.  So far we have received 160 tyres and will be receiving another 200 in a week of various sizes. The tyres cost 0.5 dollars each due to the fact that they are normally turned into garbage cans or sold to Vietnam to be used as road material.

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We’ve also ordered 20 trucks (40 kip – cubic meters in Khmer) of the general filling material, which will be a sandy kind of dirt, and we’ll receive more as needed.  Because we are building in a lowland area, we must have it shipped in about 2 km from the inland, where the locals want to get rid of it to lower their land, which gives them a better rice crop: win – win!

Cardboard is being bulked up from local bar suppliers, and will cost 200 riel (5 cents) per kilogram.  We’re putting that into the bottom of the tyres, and it will possibly also be used to insulate the roof between other layers of materials.

Bottles (not recycled in this country) saved and collected from local bars and restaurants are starting to pour into the building site.

Our visitors are amassing! We can now confirm that we will have a visitor from Taos, NM, two other members of Earthship Sweden, another 11 volunteers, and a flock of visitors from around the globe and from within the Kingdom of Cambodia.

As supplies are beginning to pile up the locals look at us with skepticism, but our veteran building staff just looks at it through their own experienced eyes: Where previous “crazy or unheard of” ideas worked out, this can and will too!

We have been contacted by a few media outlets, and hope to get as much coverage of this as possible, spreading the word of this great way of making sustainable homes.