Groundhouse: an ecological and affordable self built home, based on ‘glass and mass’ passive solar design

The first modern building to be called a Groundhouse is the Brittany Groundhouse, an earthship based on my work with biotect Michael Reynolds and the earlier Brighton projects – earthship brighton and the the lizard earthship village.

After we built the Brittany Groundhouse, we heard of the use of the term Groundhouse way back in 1981.  Written by Nik Wistinghausen, Solar Groundhouse: the low cost solar home, the new way of living in harmony with nature is a short book that presents a strong vision for earth sheltered homes, remarkably close to where we have got to…

A groundhouse, like any natural home that is self built, is much more than the materials and technologies that make it.  As important as the synergy of rammed earth  and technology  is the web of human relations, energy and expertise that informs the design and makes the build happen.

Brittany Groundhouse was the most extraordinary collaboration of people and synthesis of ideas.  And when I look at what we achieved and the comfort and brightness of the space we built – I see this web of relations, movements, ideas.  Ecological homes…

Through groundhouse.com and our book we want to share and celebrate the holistic nature of this work and to offer help and inspiration to everyone else who feels the need to make some major changes in the way we create and live in our human shelter systems on this earth.

As well as covering the build and the finished home, we will include what other new projets people on our build team are now working on and offering.  And through the groundhouse blog, we aim to provide some insight into the very rich and expanding world of natural homes.

By simply orientating our home to face the sun, and using the energy storing capability of earth, we are able to take out the need for heating.  Saving in money, time (to earn the money), energy and that ubiquitous pollutant – carbon.


The journey is shared with a great many people whose time energy and expertise are a source of inspiration and possibility….As a start:

Michael Reynolds, Kirsten Jacobsen, Claire Blanchard, Mischa Hewitt, Bryn Thomas, Alex Leeor, Kevin Trott, Tom Bedford, Alun Hughes, Andy Francis, Duncan Passmore, Sian Passmore, Matthew Ash, Don Mclean, Daniel Delhomme, Dan Clarke, Eric BerthierJustin Shanley & Christophe, Ash, Ceri Fielding, John and Pat Howarth, Simon Bottrell, Jon Kalviac, George Clinton, Mark Whittaker, Azreen Noor, Anne Hauvespre, Vanessa Morris (Kloeber), Ian Peters (British Gas), Martin Dootson (Polypipe) and  Thurstan Crockett.

We gathered as many local and natural materials as we could and up-cycled everything possible.  We collaborated and built a Groundhouse.

Putting the Tyres in Place