Earth houses in Olst

The earth houses in Olst are inspired by Earthships by architect Michael Reynolds. The first Earthships date from 40 years ago and have been extensively tested in use. Waste – wherever possible – and local building materials – as much as possible – are decisive in construction. An earthship is designed to be self-sufficient. For the Dutch climate it was necessary to change the concept of an earthship to the Dutch situation. With this, the term Earthship is also changed to Earth House.

As a collective of private clients, the association Earth House Netherlands has built a total of 23 homes and a community house. 12 houses have a north wall of car tires – filled with tamped earth – that supports the roof. In the other 11 houses we have replaced this with straw bales – the roof leans there on a wooden frame. The roof has a gradient of 9 degrees to optimally absorb the sun: in the winter at the back of the house, in the summer there is little or no sun in the houses.

Characteristic is the sun density – the houses have a glass façade on the south side. The shelter of the north wall of car tires, a bank of earth and a green roof are important for the thermal mass. An Earth housing is well insulated and the energy performance coefficient is zero or near zero. When heating is done with a clay stove or a wood stove or heat pump. Groundwater is purified before it is used as drinking water and there is an own sewer treatment in the form of a helophyte filter.

Project Details

CPO project
23 homes, switched
1 community center
Timber skeleton with straw insulation

2009 – 2015

75 – 175 m2 / 260 – 650 m3

Olst (NL)

what is different with you … or rather typically
– straw construction specialist
– enthusiasm and commitment “above average”
– open and positive regarding cooperation
– basically pragmatic, but with spiritual interest

Hyco Verhaagen