Alternative Building Methods

Although you might not find use for the information below, you might at least be interested in the creative ways people come up with to construct houses. In a previous post, I examined so-called 3D printing techniques. In the below videos we will see all sorts of sundry methods. Since a video might be better than the written word in this case, I have embedded videos that explain the various methods. If for some reason a link is missing–videos appear and disappear so frequently–let us know and we will try to fix it.

It should be mentioned that expense is not the only reason for using alternative methods. Instead, someone might consider the ongoing use of energy or other resources as well as pure aesthetics. Nevertheless, any method must be stacked up against others based on its inherent cost, time and labor expenditures.

Aircrete structures:




Lightweight Insulated Concrete Panels:



Foam Concrete:







Shipping Containers:





Earth Bag:




Rammed Earth:





I grew up in Yuma, Arizona and remember a few of the adobe houses still remaining. They were made in the same way the old west icon, Yuma Territorial Prison, was made, from the clay and sand from the banks of the Colorado River. Yuma is true desert. There were no trees for wood construction and lumber was expensive coming from northern Arizona in high country.

My mother had a friend who we occasionally visited and what I remember of her adobe house was even in the scorching heat of the Arizona summer day, the house was amazingly cool. She had no air conditioning, nor needed any.




Cob House:



Straw Bale:



These are just a few of the different methods for putting a house together. Some of these methods probably lend themselves well to tiny houses, but regardless, for me, I will always prefer a modern style.



Self-Portrait in Red.
Self-Portrait in Red.

Just Print That Tiny House

I have read interesting articles and reports, watched videos of “printed” structures, mostly as experiments as part of research at universities. The material used in producing these is usually a specialized concrete mixture that flows easily, yet has body and gains reasonable strength when cured.

I originally saw the video below on at this link. I’ve included the video from YouTube due to its interesting nature, with the realization that this is a corporate film produced to promote a product, and therefore, may have a bit of puffery. Obviously, most people would not be able to rush out and order one of their own, but maybe sometime in the future such technology might be available.

As for now, I can imagine that the technologies displayed below would be a useful hybridization of current building techniques. For example, suppose the foundation or basement of a house were “printed” instead of laid out in block or poured with concrete forms. For that matter, anything that could be produced with this technique such as steps or a porch would save tremendous amounts of time and labor.

This is just a preliminary. I plan on a couple of articles on alternative building techniques such as these for the near future, along with another article on unusual prefab buildings.

Here is the video:


And some more videos:




Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas.
Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas.