With the leaves tinging red and cold-fronts becoming more frequent, the advance of Fall is bearing down on the Southern Alps of New Zealand.  To prepare for the oncoming winter there has been a stint of plaster work occurring at 97 Kings Drive, most noticeably on the SuperAdobe/Earthbag walls out front.  We are very pleased to present you with some shots of the more finished look that the Earthbag walls will have once it is all said and done (especially for the neighbor's sake!).  In order to make the plaster a bit more weather tough, hydrated lime has been added to the earthen plaster mix for the SuperAdobe walls (around 20% of the mix).  Applied over the course of two days, the plaster is 4-5 inches thick (100-125mm) and is a bit of an experiment to see how the mix performs through the winter months.  With the masterful float technique applied by Greg Tump, this wall section is showing some great promise in the aesthetic department.  Check out the process below and throw any questions comments or ideas or way PLEASE!!  PEACE!



Mr.Olympia Type of Oil-Down

Imagining that the timber work of the eco-home on Kings Dr. was entering the Mr.Olympia contest, we oiled them down til they glistened.  Boiled Linseed Oil (aka Flaxseed oil) was the protective rub of choice, as its transparent nature allows the grain of the wood to show through as opposed to wood stains that mask the natural look of the wood.  Made completely of Cedar offcuts from the home's doors and window joinery (done with extreme precision and quality execution by Simon Guest) the door is quite a visual stunner of patterned patchwork. 
Right next to the door is the Jarrah post that supports the triangular sod-roof section over the front door.  After a quick sand down we applied a coat of half Turpentine, half boiled Linseed oil, and boy was it thirsty.  Now it looks like a piece of art. 

Now for some slightly random tid-bits for fun.  First up is a great visual example of a swale.  Struggling with the idea after being told various explanations, it was awesome to discover this simple diagram.  Swales are not only an important landscaping element for keeping runoff away from your home/foundation- they also play a massive role in permaculture to maximize rainwater distribution to garden systems.

Next is a radical artistic construction by model maker Takanori Aiba.  Imagining what tree-houses would look like in Bonsai trees- he sits down for weeks at at time and makes it happen- dedication!

Finally we have a relatively simple structure/ shelter that spans a creek with quite possibly the coolest hang out spot ever suspended over the running water below- madness!

Thanks for tuning in and look for the next time-lapse installment from the street side view coming soon to an altshiftnz.com site near you.  PEACE.


2n 2sday

Used in the movie soundtrack for "Super Bad" this track is pretty bad az.  Please enjoy and feel free to download!!


Recent Site Pictures + The Magic Melt

Realizing that there haven't been many 'big-picture' photos lately, we'd like to give you a refresher on what it's all looking like on the larger scale.  So we present you with a couple snapshots taken from a few steps back. Starting with a view from the study roof, we'll take a virtual walk around to the street side to see the new SuperAdobe progress that has been taking place. 

Taken from the roof above the Study looking at the pop-up and 'green' roof area.

From the north east point of the section, the home looks solid and dynamic.  The tarped piles are clay that we have been using in the EarthBags and earthen plasters. 

Here you can see the second tier of SuperAdobe bag that went in last week.  The wall is 'toothed' / 'stepped' at the moment to remain flexible in its form to accommodate the garage's final position.  In other words, the second wall is going to be higher and longer than it is in this shot.

 Looking towards the awesome front door crafted by Simon Guest (master joiner) you can see the ramp we have put in place on the top set of steps to run the wheelbarrow up and down.


Working with SuperAdobe for long hours builds up quite an appetite, and this past week saw the AltShift boys on a skint budget with limited ingredients.  A new holy grail of food was discovered under the circumstances, and we'd like to share it with you.  Dubbed 'The Magic Melt', the creation is a combination of garlic bread, stir-fry, and avocado melt.  

Basically without going into too much detail (but feel free to ask questions), take a nice oversized piece of bread (preferably focaccia or ciabatta) and toast it lightly so it is a bit crispy.  Make yourself some garlic butter by melting a good 3-4 tablespoons of butter with 4 cloves of garlic on the stove.  Drench the bread with the garlic butter. Take an avocado and mash it up to create guacamole and spread it on the bread Then prepare some stir-fry with your favorite vegetables (we had mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, and kumara (sweet potato)) and place them on top of the avocado spread.  Next comes a slight fork in the road where you can choose to take it to a new level, or just throw the cheese on and call it good, but if you want to experience the full magic you'll need to fry two eggs.  Attempting to keep the yolk liquid-y, place the fried eggs on top of the stir-fried vegetables, and then blanket it all in a few slices of cheese. Then pop it into the oven to grill for a few minutes to melt the cheese and then bust out the fork and knife and prepare yourself for a treat- you won't be disappointed!


Interesting Architecture in Ferro-Cement

Just recently saw some pictures of a resort on the French Riviera called the Palais Bulles and then badda bing bada boom, found myself eye deep in various other ferro-cement structures and websites.  There is a pretty in-depth explanation and history at this link, and also check out the video below for a tour through the 'Bubble Palace' on the French Riviera- pretty wild stuff!! ENJOY.

INSANE Interior space in the Palace of Bubbles, Cannes, France.