Friday, July 25, 2008


S is the shape of things to come. Those things are a shower and a toilet.. Friends from the Hill Country, Elena, John, and Jaime stopped by Earth Language on their way to Taos for a several days. I met all of them at the natural building colloquium in Kerrville last year. They are on an ongoing mission to transform natural materials into functional spaces. I am ever thankful for their stop here in terlingua.

I didn’t exactly have a project in mind before their visit, other than the ongoing dome project. But together we thought of a new, and very needed addition. We decided that, while the Luggable Lou and the solar shower have been working fine, it is time to upgrade.

We brainstormed about different ways to do this. Elena drew out a simple design for a structure in the shape of an S, where the curve would serve as a wall for both the shower and the toilet, and would require less resources and labor as a result.

One thing there is an enormous abundance of out here are rocks. All shapes and sizes, great for building. We spent some time checking out the old ruins around town to see how they used the rocks for their walls. Since no one was too jazzed about using cement, we decided to dry stack the rocks, the same as they did back then. Instead of mortar, we dribbled small rocks, pebbles, and sand into the spaces between the larger rocks.

We spent two days gathering rocks…LOTS of them. We then spent one day stacking them. The wall is not as thick as the examples we saw in town, but since it is not a structure to be lived in, it doesn’t have to be as stout.

I'll be uploading some more pictures from the project, so check back SSSSSoon.


Anonymous said...

How do the bricks hold up without cement - good work.

trevor.reichman said...

The gaps and spaces in a dry stack are filled in primarily with small rocks, pebbles, gravel, and sand. That dry mortar mix keeps the structural rocks from shifting. Eventually, erosion will bring this wall down. Easy come, easy go.

Alan Reichman said...

Looks interesting! Can you add cement later?
Alan Reichman

remington said...

"easy come, easy go."

it's like a bathroom mandala. beautiful, man.

lessons in building (character).


trevor.reichman said...

No real way to add cement later, but it is not necessary in a structure like this one. It is just a divider wall really.

elena said...

oh my god, how can anything still be standing without that every ready just add water cement? there has been a recent discovery of an entire Scottish village off the coast of Scara Brae over 500 years old that was hand stacked rocks. (would this be an appropriate sentence to have an exclamation point?)when are u gonna finish thees vall and did you get your clothes washing sink?

trevor.reichman said...

Elena! You should change the spelling of your name to included a permanent exclamation point. I figure if I lay one new stone each time I shower, it will be finished in about a year or so. And, ummm....what is this sink you speak of?