Autumnus MMXIV: A posse ad esse – Audere est facere!

From possibility to actuality – To Dare is To Do

After the summer we were able to see what had been successful. The dome was still standing strong, but the turf tire roof has broken in places and so this would need to be replaced. The earth bags had now settled sufficiently to begin the task of plastering internally.

11th Oct. –

With it being autumn now, we first covered the site with a tent to make working in all weather conditions easier. The entrance was given a first layer of earth plaster and a shingle roof decided on as the plan.

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12th Oct. – Sunny Sunday

Begin the new roof frame, lessons in geometry & re-fixing the roof light


15th Oct. –

Wednesday completing the frame ready for the shingles…

10689873_806109406117878_293589855087674903_n10403725_806109562784529_7572374563166221309_n10530902_806109919451160_821666575276100924_n10003564_780421315350501_2323624332668504853_o10414837_806109989451153_6310969236115252637_n Steady Progress on the wooodwork Front.

18th Oct.

Adding the horizontal battens, testing colour schemes and starting adding the singles…

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22nd Oct. –

Another surprisingly warm October day at HHW shingling

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29th Oct. –

Preparing the interior for plaster.

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the windows got a pair of eyebrows, whilst a lot of work, they really gave the building character and will help the it to shed water, keeping it dry inside and more durable.

1st Nov-

Earth rendering, adding lime render and white wash…

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10505054_785291518196814_1277218860679592473_o 1669672_789354161123883_2998695751242203603_o  … really progressing with the shingles, getting here the top.


Nov. 5th

great work of Heros of Earth, Lime and Shingle’ – Marcin


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Nov. 8th – 9th

Doo-dloo-doo-doo-doo… Doo-dloo-doodoodoodooWe are shingling in the rain… Just shingling in the rain… What what a glorious feeling’ I’m shingling again

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Nov. 22nd

She stands alone!

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… Ian said ‘It was very peaceful after all had been cleared, a still think a few things need tweeting but they can be done in time’


 A posse ad esse – Audere est facere!


The Last Washer!

The final day

Tuesday 10th June 2014

Today we continued to hang tyres, following yesterday’s problems with this, it was an increasingly hard job. Drilling each tyre in the chain and then bolting them together whilst hung, was precarious with uneven pressures when people were working on particular areas. The bolts, even with bigger washers, could still occasionally get pulled through the hole causing the chain to fall.  We also began preparing the materials needed to fill each tyre for the living roof. In each tyre there would first be a supportive layer of chicken wire, covered by Geotextile, then earth and finally the turf. Once we had enough connected tyres we began to fill each tyre and we used the same system for filling all the gaps around the tyres in the roof.  It was quite shaky working on the roof, carefully trying not to add unnecessary or uneven pressure to the tyres. As the day pushed on we were getting nearer, and the tidy up effort began, the safety fencing was removed, the skyline cleaned and stapled to the DPC for a good final seal.  It was looking good, despite losing an hour to one of the tyre chains breaking, but they do say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I think it’s the case here.

As the evening progressed earth was added around the base of the dome and the stones. Taking up the last of the earth with only 3 shovels, wasn’t a nice task, some people even resorted to using their hands, but it all had to go to clear the site. Lifting up the tarpaulin we had laid the earth on was an equally unenviable job, underneath it smelt but at least the grass could now begin to recover.  It wasn’t till 10pm everyone finished on site, with final photos, everyone was happy and a lovely meal at Hilt Holt Wood’s hand built Lake House was the perfect end to such an epic fortnight, when Marcin found another washer in his pocket it was funny. But in all seriousness I’m certain the project will leave a legacy, beyond the sun burn, the bruises and the blisters, everyone who took part learnt a lot. It was a really worthwhile experience. So despite all odds, the structural part of Archilove’s experimental project has been completed on time and on budge. So that leaves me with the thank yous, to Marcin for his energy and passion, The University for Funding us, Hill Holt Woods for the site and help, Trevor, for his tools, materials and skills, EMESS and everyone else who helped and made it possible. We’ll see everyone again in September once our dome has dried out and is ready for its layer of plaster.

The Big Top

Monday 9th June 2014

The first job on site today was to take out the earth bags to expose the North window, with highly compressed bags filling the opening; you have to be very brutal with them, slitting them, removing as much earth as possible, before forcing out the bags with stakes. We managed to carefully remove the bags and now had two lovely windows. We had also begun to attach the first chain of tyres. By lunch time we were ready to take the tent down. Once down it was great to see our building completely for the first and we were now ready to lay the DPC and then place the skylight on top, however it wasn’t as straight forwards as it should have been thanks to the Great British summer. The storm clouds came and with torrential rain it wasn’t an easy task but all the more important. On the plus side it gave us the chance to test the dryness of the building, and with all 9 of us inside continuing work, the structure proved itself keeping us all warm and dry. Once the rained stopped we all began to pack up, happy with the days works, with a wet DPC impractical to continue working on, we planned for tomorrow and what had to be done our final day on site.



Raise the Roof, the Structure is Sound!

8th June 2014

We immediately set about finishing the joint between the arched entrance and the dome, and added an extra layer for security to keep a neat seal under the skylight. Once this had been done we could set about the task of removing the formwork and wait of the moment of truth, whether the structure would hold. It took a while but bit by bit we removed the formwork, under the anticipating watch on everyone on site and despite our last minute doubts, the arch and dome held, not moving an inch, now we can only hope it stands the test of time this well. As the day progressed we also successfully removed the window form work and so with a structurally sound building we began to model the first layer of the tyre roofing system and then decided following such success to pack up and finish the day a little earlier than normally. Success!