The Brighton Earthship

An earthship is a house made from recycled materials and soil, that exists entirely off-grid, ie: generating its own electricity, purifying its own water and treating its own sewage. The name earthship comes from the idea that these structures ‘sail effortlessly’ on the surface of the Earth.

The photo shows the first earthship to be built in England, at Stanmer House in Brighton. It was built in 2003 and is now managed by the Low Carbon Trust.

The original concept for earthships was developed by American architect Michael Reynolds, who has championed sustainable construction ideas and biotecture for several decades. His original concept was for a home that could be self or community built, thus avoiding the need for a mortgage, with a low environmental footprint, and negligible ongoing utility costs.

Comprising non-standard building techniques, reuse of waste and site managed water, power and sewerage, obtaining official approval to construct earthships has proved difficult in many Western countries. The film Garbage Warrior documents Michael’s fight against the New Mexico planning authorities in building earthships, and his successes in building them in the developing world.

Photo by Dominic Alves

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