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.


TUNE Tuesday Valentine's day edition

Happy Valentine's day y'all!! For this Valentine's Day edition of Tune tuesday we have a downloadable remix of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" re-worked by a very talented Australian producer A.Skillz. Enjoy and have a love filled day!!

                                                                   *** UPDATE ***

It looks like the Al Green Track was only available for download for a brief time on Valentine's Day so we have replaced it with a new jam below of a few classics mixed together by LeBron- have fun!


Weeeekend Supplements.

SHU-wee!! It's another round of weekend supplements where we throw a few entertaining (but oh-so-random and unrelated to alternative-building) bits your way to enhance the weekend experience. On the menu today we have a few tasty images to get you started, a groovy new disco track for dancing and appetite building, and then some AltShift Burritos (or the recipie at least- it's not like we can attach 'em to an e-mail for ya!) for the main course. Hope you're hungry!

First up (above) we have a couple of images from Wanaka based artist Pol Sifter who has some very clever and interesting work feel free to check out more of his work here

Click on images to get
larger view
(just trying to save space!)

To the right: A great use for old light bulbs and to the left a very sharp looking He-Man and Duncan. If you're looking to really throw some time in the trash in exchange for a good laugh check out this He-Man music video.

This track (downloadable thanks to the generous GMGN dj team) will definitely make you want to STOMP the floorboards (or whatever you may be standing on (hopefully not a glass table top or frozen pond)). Big thanks to Matty J Blige for the tip on this disco fireball!!

Now for the main event: AltShiftNZ BURRITOS

So, first and foremost you gotta make sure you ROUND UP some quality ingredients:

Beans: Ideally you soak and cook your own raw beans of your choosing (black/pinto)
mash'em up yourself but it's ok to grab a canned re-fried beans for a shortcut.

Veggies: Make sure to grab some onions, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, and plenty of
avocado. Also garlic is the secret ingredient here so have at least 4 cloves.

Rice: We usually cook up some rice with peppers and salt in it to spice it up a bit, but at times if were feeling like some extra nutrients will substitute Quinoa for the rice-
very good.

Cheese: Hi-grade block for grating or (pre-grated)

Tortillas: Again, depending on time constraints we sometimes make our own crepe like
tortillas, but usually buy pre made ones. If you're feeling especially industrious,
check out our Weeeekend supplements Crepe edition for a refresher on crepes.


Start by dicing up all the veggies (minus the avocado and garlic) into bite sized pieces and sauté them in a large pan with oil (we recommend coconut oil as it adds an awesome taste).

Throw the rice or quinoa on another burner (water ratio for rice = 2 water to 1 rice and for quinoa = 1.75 water to 1 quinoa).

Grab a pot for the beans and once the veggies are adequately sautéed throw them in with the beans and heat on low. At this point get the garlic magic working and (preferably with a garlic press) add 4-6 cloves of garlic to the beans.

Once the rice or quinoa is done get your tortilla / crepe ready and lay down a strip of bean mix and rice in the center. Slice the avocado up and put a few slices on the top of the strip along with some grated cheese. Wrap the tortilla up (we fold the ends closed width-wise and then wrap/tuck length wise).

Now here's were the extra AltShift love comes in: pan frying the burrito! To do this successfully place some grated cheese on the inside of the tortilla flap from the wrap/tuck which will act as a glue to keep your burrito sealed. Add a bit of oil to a pan (or better yet use a brush to apply oil to the burrito) and place the burrito flap-side down and cook on medium heat until golden brown (minute or two). Flip and repeat. There you have it!! Class A burrito action! If you have any questions on the process give us a holler in the comment section.


Livng Roofs!!

Sharing experiences and thoughts of the eco-build on 97 Kings Dr. has always been the number one aim of this blahg, and honesty and openness of this experience is vital to the progression and whittling down of the alternative-build process to become a more simple, and truly ecological undertaking.  One aspect of the home that we may wish a time machine rental-shop existed for, would be the 'green' roof.  Due to it's near 225 kg/square meter (500 lbs/ square yard) loading of soil and plant matter, the extra engineering required in the design of the sod roof on our project has made the cost ticker jump quite a bit, and the added engineering was just the beginning to the investment increase.  Necessitating nearly 4 times the amount of joists to support the turf roof area, as well as local regulations calling for an extensive waterproofing system, the material expense has also been a bit frightful.

The waterproofing process has been a bit of an interesting procedure that seems to be at slight odds with the whole ecological ethos of 'green' builds.  Below is a cross-section of the living roof system:

And a brief sequence of application of the waterproofing system by New Zealand's Nuralite company.

Somewhat needless to say, this method of water-proofing is nearly second to none in effectiveness and quite bulletproof.  But nearly equally needless to state, is how chemically and carbon intensive it is.  There is not much natural about it, and the processing and creation of such products makes a 'greenie' wince.  This is not meant to vilify or condemn Nuralite, but looking back on the very large and time-tested history of living roofs, it isn't hard to see the environmental disparities and stray from the truly natural & original technique the Scandinavians and Icelandic began back in the middle ages.

So, to get a clear  and more balanced picture we have performed a bit of research into said roofing history.  Due mostly to lack of resources, the ingenious people of Scandinavia & Iceland developed the method of insulating and 'shingling' their roofs with sod.  With the absence of Nuralite and bitumen dealer, the people of these countries turned to the bark of Birch trees as their waterproofing membrane like many other observant native peoples of the world have, check out the birch bark canoe below!!

After placing a layer or two of birch bark down they would then lay a sections of sod with the grass face-down to help prevent the soil (preferably quite sandy for good drainage and minimal humus/organic material) from decomposing the bark to quickly.  Another layer right side up and it's nearly there.  To hold it all in place the use of 'turf-logs'.  In the rough schematic below  you can see the birch bark 'leaves' beneath the two layers of sod being held by the 'turf-logs'. 

This post seems to be getting a bit long winded so if you feel so inclined please check out this link here to get the rest of the story, or ask away in the comments section.  Thanks for reading and look for some Weekend Supplements coming up soon! 

UPDATE:  Look at this 'all-in-one' sod-roof tiling system pioneered by Toyota of Japan- wild!

 Here is a link to a site that talks about it briefly: click hur


Tune Tuesday.

Boy do we have an absolute treasure of a track for you below. Originally prophesied by Tower of Power back in 1974, a French producer by the name of Funk Blaster has reworked it ever-so-slightly for one of the better downloadable tracks I've seen in some time. Unlike most songs, this track becomes more relevant every passing year. Please take a minute to listen to its wisdom.


On-site Casualties ( Warning: Graphic Images Below )

Last week saw the first casualties on site since Raymond (the lemon tree) back in June 2011 - needless to say it was a bit emotional.  Black Betty, the beloved AltShiftNZ tamper who has compacted hundreds of meters of SuperAdobe for us, broke her neck the other day in a strenuous bout of Earthbag thumping (be warned: the following images are of a graphic nature).

Above, a slight closeup of where the pipe failed just above the gussets that provided connection and support to the tamping plate 


To the right is a picture to get an idea of the thickness of the pipe.

An interesting case study in the field of material strength and fatigue.

With a little welding surgery and a brand new set of gussets, Ms.Betty is back smashing the massive 20" wide Earthbags from Cal-Earth at 97 Kings Dr.- take a gander at her new neck:

 Black Betty forming the retaining wall and top tier of the 
SuperAdobe landscaping on the West side of the home.

The other (more catastrophic) fatality, was that of 'Thor Hammer', a creation handcrafted by DIY specialist Douglas 'Murphy' Meyers.   Originally built for 'persuading' straw bales into their ideal place,  the wooden mallet was subbed in for tamping the Earthbag after Black Betty lost her head.  Within a few swings, the 'Thor Hammer' exploded, and was laid to rest.

Above, Doug shouldering his timber sledge back in March 2011.

'Thor Hammer' remains.

A bit of a tearjerker, 'Thor Hammer' will be remembered fondly and buried on site (service date and time to be determined).  May your tools stay healthy!!


Tuned Tuesday

Triple your pleasure triple your fun- that's the statement of a great hint, three songs - done.

* Top two are downloadable via Soundcloud.   "What It Is" (the second track by the aptly named group "The Undisputed Truth") has a lengthy build up (approx. 6 min.), but make sure to listen to the last 3 minutes at bare minimum so you don't miss out on a masterly groove.  And for all the ABBA fans, Scratchandsniff does a pretty classy mash-up of two all-time greats.
Stay Excellent.