A conversation with Bob Merrill
at the Inland Northwest Permaculture Convergence
Transforming tires, soda cans, old newspaper, straw bales into beautiful homes is all part of a day’s work for Bob Merrill, owner of Hybrid Habitat. Bob was one of the builders of Dennis Weaver’s Earthship in New Mexico. He now lives in Northport, Washington and we caught up with him at the Inland Northwest Convergence to share his forty years of experience building earth ships and other wonders using imagination and garbage.
Following are excerpts from an article written by Bob on Hybrid Construction. There is a link to the complete article along with contact information at the end of this post.
Hybridized Construction is an example of the way we can synthesize three spheres of human need; social, economic, and ecologic. Here is an example of how this worked in my community.
Socially: We came together to build a home for our associate pastor and his new wife. members. It was a total community effort. Our prep-school students benefited in that this was their vocational training assignment, our children helped in many ways and the empowering effects of the simple construction techniques brought in everyone who otherwise would have been intimidated by any building adventure.
Economic: The use of our re-cycled and up-cycled materials proved ” there is no such thing as garbage; only ill thought and irreverent behavior towards the created order.” We also came to really understand that: “we trip over most all we need in life on the way to the store to buy it “. We started, not at the store but with what we had all around us. The sustainable features of this structure wil,l at some point soon, pay its occupants to be in it. I am referring to the virtues of building out-of-pocket, being empowered, low utilities and low maintenance.
Ecologic: In the original prints as much attention went into the appropriate technologies as the combining of the alternative materials. This is not a green building, it is a sustainable solar structure that has amplified the value of the term local or “indigenous.” It has a “footprint” that with further enhancements should set a precedent for all sustainable construction.
Hybrid construction is many things, an approach to construction, an interaction between those involved, a co-creation of possibilities using the materials we find around us that allows for emergence of our imaginations.
Links and Contact information:
Email: Robert Merrill <email@example.com>
Article compiled by Bob: Hybridized construction
Another article featuring Bob’s work: http://www.mortarsprayer.com/straw-bale/bob-merrill-straw-bale/