New Mexico, USA
Michael Reynolds, the Earthship concept’s founder and creator, has been a prominent figure for four decades, appearing in various forms of media worldwide. He dedicated many years to developing the Earthship idea, which continues to gain global interest.
In 1969, Michael arrived in Taos after completing architecture school. Inspired by the trash problem and housing affordability crisis, he innovatively crafted “can bricks” from discarded steel and tin cans. These building blocks consisted of ten cans, a mix of flat and unflattened, wired together to form solid walls. Initially, discarded steel and tin beer cans were used, well before recycling practices.
These initial “garbage” homes gained media attention despite their simplicity compared to modern Earthships. Waste materials, especially tires, are now ubiquitous and pose significant environmental threats if not properly managed.
Throughout the following decade, designs continuously improved to include thermal mass, passive solar features, and natural ventilation. The Earthships constructed today, with rammed earth tires, exhibit remarkable strength, obviating the need for foundations, while solar glazing along the front heats the interior naturally. Operable windows and skylights ensure natural ventilation for cooling.
The 2007 documentary, “The Garbage Warrior,” chronicles Michael Reynolds’ efforts to pass the “Sustainable Development Testing Site Act,” enabling the allocation of land for sustainable building experiments. This legislation empowers innovators to test their methods promptly, a result of Reynolds’ legislative battle, EVE (Environmental Village Ecologies).
Join Michaels Earthed course on Earthships to learn more.