Although ‘Earthships’ may sound like a spaceship from a sci-fi movie, the name is actually for a style of sustainable housing like those found in this small subdivision of homes in the middle of New Mexico. After seeing all the unutilized land that was being wasted on nuclear testing, architect Mike Reynolds decided to confront the legislature about doing some sort of experimental home designing. To his surprise, the local government granted Reynolds two acres, allowing him to create a series of innovative homes with absolutely no restrictions.
“The county comes and just sort of observes once in a while,” he stated to a reporter, showing a series of piles of what looked like trash. The neighborhood appears to be something out of a post-apocalyptic movie, showing strange homes scattered along the desert wasteland. “We use trash,” he said proudly, going on to say that the county even went as far as bringing old tires and bottles to help with construction.
Every single home is completely self-sustaining, most of them made up of a strange combination of construction materials. For example, the walls are made with concrete and recycled bottles as well as tin cans. The architect claimed that although a lot of the designs are strong and durable, they wouldn’t be permitted outside the 2-acre zone. “It’s completely safe,” he stated, “It’s just not in their programming to approve something like this.”
In order for a neighborhood to survive in the desert, it needs electricity and water, both of which is offered by Earthships. The homes are covered in wired solar wraps, which are skinny sheets that are sprawled across the ceiling of each home, making for cheap living. Water, of course, is dependent on the amount of rain that falls, which isn’t much in New Mexico. Reynolds stated that in order to keep much of this rainfall, the neighborhood has created a town reservoir as well as greenhouse, which helps create hot water during the day.
Watch Kirsten Dirksens’s Video About Earthships Below