Project Moonunit

Project Moonunit

See Project Moonunit Photos

I didn’t have a lot of experience building when I began this project, but I always enjoyed making forts and helping with the family house when I was young. I’ve worked with sculpture before, and in a way that’s what Project Moonunit is to me… that or a goat shed, winery, art studio, guest house, a mud hut, hacienda, ‘dobe, spaceship, pod, playground and home.

It’s a hybrid passive solar ( kinda ), cob, earthbag, straw bale, light clay, tires, papercrete, urbanite, stone, (wood) post and beam structure; with a light seasoning of earthen and lime plasters. Most of the wood is salvaged and acquired by trade. The earth and sand was dug from the site and brought 1.3 miles from the local gravel pit. It sure helps to have friends in construction looking out, and in dumpsters, for windows, doors and supplies.

It’s what I’ve been up to for the last 3 years. I’ve treated it like tuition, like college. I learn by doing. Experimenting. Learning how to work with natural building materials. Learning about what materials are fun to work with and those that are not. Learning the value of a stick-to-it-ive-ness and what it takes to make a ( or 700 ) wheelbarrow(s) of cob. Most importantly I’ve learned what not to do. That a plan is very important. And to be flexible with the plan if you can. I’ve been happy to make mistakes; tear it all down and start over again and again. It’s hard for me to gauge some of the details of the project, but I’ll do my best.

Project Moonunit was born on 2003-2006 some where in the midwest. Made by Michael Blaha and friends. The building is roughly 650 sq (round) feet. The total cost, including all tools and building materials, came in under $5000.00. It was constructed over the course of 3 years with an estimated 800 – 1500 man hours – give or take.

The energy and time… wellll, it’s a labor of love.

I present…

Project Moonunit »

8 Responses

  • Rae says:

    I love this project! I am an architecture student and I wanted to use your house for a project of mine. Please e-mail me back and let me know, cause I just have a few questions for you..
    Thanks,
    Rae

  • Michael says:

    The Moonunit is in Minnesota. It can get pretty cold. With the rocket stove burning often it can stay warm. Though it’s not a full time residence.
    I’m favoring strawbale and cob for colder climates. Place the cob on internal walls, floors and build mass walls for solar heat collection. Use bales on external walls to insulate from the cold.

  • Allan Montgomery says:

    Usually, these sorts of sites are short on pictures. Not so with yours. I spotted the salvaged materials right away, and it’s exactly the sort of method I’d like to use to build my own place, here in Northern Ontario. Thing is, I’m concerned about the winters we get up here. They’re really long and cold. Where exactly are you, and how did the place handle the winter you have there? Also, how cold does winter get where you are?

  • Oliver says:

    Hello Michael,

    I would like to add your home to the natural homes map so that more people find your work. Would that be OK? Write me.

    Regards, Oliver

  • Liza Macrae says:

    What climate did you build your hovel in? It really is wonderful. I especially like the way you tided the whole space in with the white lyme plaster. Much better than a college education.

  • Thanks! No plumbing or kitchen in the Moonunit. Good luck on your earthbag home.

  • Asayah says:

    Congratulations on your beautiful home! Thank you for your documentation…My husband and I are about to build an earth bag home and it’s hard to know what to expect (no matter how many books you read or websites you visit). Your pic’s are real and do a great job of capturing the time frame. From what I saw in the pictures it looks like it’s going to be a great time…always keep the end result in mind. ;) Did you do you own plumbing? I didn’t notice many electrical (except for one picture) outlets… Many candles and natural light. Do you cope well through the winter months with the short days? Thanks again for sharing!!!

  • gaile says:

    wow. just wow. it’s awesome, and what great documentation of your project, obviously a labor of love.