Forecast: 100% chance of Heavy & Progressive Flurries

Speeding towards the roof raising, the AltShift team has been steaming on at full tilt in order to begin the straw bale infill and plastering in the coming weeks.  With the rafters spanning the living room area, one can really get a sense of what the interior space is going to feel like.  It has been a while since we have shown some of the time lapse/ change views of the site so let's start it off with a view from the end of December to current day:

BOOM!  Having the framing sprout up from the footings is arguably one of the most exciting parts of the build as the visual change is massive.  In the bottom photo Trent can be seen soaking in the view (a picture of the vista from the future green roof to come soon, as soon as the weather is ideal) and contemplating the project he has dedicated so much of his time and energy to.   Below we have the view from the front of the house:

In the later shot above you can see the big pile(s) of earth from Cardrona Valley (the same material used for the rammed earth walls) in the bottom, which is the fill for the Super Adobe / earthbag retaining and landscaping walls on the street side of the home (pictures farther down in this post).  And here is a view from the back of the house.

In tandem with the framing and roof support developments, there has been quite a bit of landscaping happening up front. As seen in previous posts the 3 man crew of Trent, Roarke, and Travis have been churning out some curvy Super Adobe wall courses near the entrance and along the street for retaining.  Below is a picture of a small section that will run along the stairs up to the front door.

Here we are planning on embedding circular light fixtures (in PVC pipes sandwiched between courses/rows) to light the stairs.  There will be a three tiers/terraces of these earthbag/Super Adobe walls and each section will have some sort of form, fixture,  bench, or planter embedded into the wall to create even greater intrigue to the already beautifully curving forms (hopefully people's heads won't explode due to the aesthetic overload).  Below one can get a view up along the bottom tier beginnings for the front landscaping, and see the gentle curving that will continue on the two upper walls to come.

As if there could be any more progress being made concurrently along side all of the action on the site; wouldn't you know it- there is a joinery shop pumping out quality wooden window frames- WHAT?!  I know it's a lot to take in, but check out the craftsmanship below:

Above you can see the "window schedule" (aka a diagram/list with the sizing specifications of every window in the house)in the foreground and  the sills and framing for some of the large clerestory windows in the background.

Here are some of the window frames that will be going into the two front bedrooms- sweet.
Below is a detail shot of the sexy sills:

And the 5 in 1 saw table that is making it all happen:

Cramming much else into this update might push the limits of the human brain and/or attention span, so we will leave it at that - but thanks and congratulations to those of you who have made it this far.  As always, please let us know of any questions you may have (or leave us a little validating love) by writing a comment below or sending us an e-mail at altshiftnz@gmail.com.  Keep on shifting in the free world!


  1. Anonymous1/26/2011

    Love you . . .

  2. Awww...you're too kind!! In the words of camp mother and resident soothsayer Diana Jennings: "Mirror back at you!"

  3. Anonymous1/27/2011

    This is the most impressive posting yet! The home is really starting to take form, looking forward to seeing the clerestory line go up, which will finalize the volume of the framed form.
    I am in awe to see the crafting of your own joinery, timber windows and doors built by the labor camp crew...what a concept and such an upgrade to the home, sure beats the "aluminium" thermal breaks and the aesthetic of over-processed metal. Also, the earth bag super adobe work is very cool, another sustainable aspect that adds to this organic mix of elements. Please, this rammed earth, straw bale, green roof, super adobe concoction is causing me to doubt the soundness of the whole Leavitown movement ;/
    Onward AltShifters!

  4. Wow--Blown away, The light will be spectacular! Love the lines and contrasting gentle curves-beautiful