Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tile Work In Patagonia, Arizona

When we cross the border at Nogales, Arizona
 we often stop in the very nice little town of Patagonia.

And what a great town to walk around and check the sites.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stone And Concrete Tub Made With Forms

In the last post I showed some ideas for reusing materials
 from old mobile homes at El Dorado Hot Springs in Arizona.

In the last photo I showed forms made from the walls and floor.

Now let's look at that tub.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Recycling Old Mobile Homes

In the last month or so Low Rent Renaissance Blog 
has done a series on deconstructing a mobile home:

Well, recently we were at El Dorado Hot Springs in Arizona
 and they have been deconstructing a number of old mobile homes
 and reusing the materials.

Above is a shed they constructed from lumber from the floor, walls, and roof.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Michael T. Levy-Solar Architect

     This winter I have gotten to know Michael Levy and looking over his website ( I can see that he has had quite a career in the alternative building and appropriate technology fields. As a solar architect, design and build contractor, and green builder he has worked and taught building with steel, adobe, masonry, strawbale, and insulated concrete forms (in this case rastra block). Among other things he has designed and built passive solar buildings and underground, both commercial, residential, and remodeling. Check out his website for much, much more. I look forward to catching up with him next time we are in Taos, New Mexico and learning more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More On Formed Cement

Readers may notice my fascination 
with formed and decorative cement work,
 particularly in Mexico where it has advanced to an art form.

Old Time Methods Yield Spring Greens All Winter

     I saw this on NPR's website the other day: Old Time Methods Yield Spring Greens All Winter. The web version has photos so that is better to show the hoop houses that are used as well as the techniques on this small farm in Central Virginia. Please check it out.

     And to complement the NPR story here are my blog posts on the same topic. Now is a good time to start planning your garden for next winter:

A Cold Frame from 4/17/10,
Hoop Houses from 11/19/10 and
Winter Garden #2 from 11/30/10.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Details In Alamos, Sonora

I want to show a few photos that I like from Alamos
 that didn't fit in any other posts.

Above the color combinations, carved stone,
 and the formed plaster are striking.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

El Pedregal In Alamos, Sonora-Adobe Casitas

In the six weeks we spent in Alamos this winter,
 I could only find one example of adobe being used in contemporary building,

The five casitas and lodge were built of adobe 
in the last few years by David and Jennifer MacKay.

Above is one of the casitas.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brickmaking In Afghanistan

     Saw this 3:16 minute video in the New York Times this morning and it presents a disturbing picture of slavery through indebtedness. But it also shows brickmaking in another part of the world. I particularly was interested in the form they used as well as how they handled the mud.

     There are two messages here for me. Stay out of debt, and build, or remodel, your own house using the material used most often around the world- earth.

     The video is: The Brickmakers of Afghanistan. Or you can see the article: In Afhgan Kilns, a Cycle of Debt and Servitude which includes a link to the video.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

El Pedregal In Alamos, Sonora

last week and as soon as we reached the front gate
 I knew that we were someplace special.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Unconventional Homes-A Glow In The Desert

     I just saw this article in the New York Times and thought that if this isn't alternative building, what is. The article is A Glow in the West Texas Desert and is about The Southwest Texas Alternative Energy And Sustainable Living Field Laboratory or the work of John Wells. His blog site is The Field Lab. I think I will add his blog to the blogs that I read on the right side bar. Enjoy.

Skylights In Sonora

My previous post was on Roof Treatments In Alamos, Sonora 
and the one immediately before that was Ceiling Treatments In Alamos, Sonora.

Please scroll down to see them or go to:
Now let's look at skylights.
Here in Alamos skylights are often used in remodeling
 as the old homes can be quite dark.

But they are not the type of skylights we are used to in the states.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Roof Treatments In Alamos, Sonora

If you go back to the previous post you will see ceilings;
Ceiling Treatments In Alamos, Sonora.

Now let's look at how they do the roof here.

Above is an older roof made of fired bricks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Figueroa Family Woodworkers In Alamos, Sonora

We have been on the road recently in Arizona
(the more guns, less wi-fi state)
but I hope to get on a more regular posting schedule and...

...I was happy to meet Nemesisio Figueroa,
 who is part of a woodworking family here in Alamos.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Portals #2

Since the beginning of the year
 we have passed by several enticing portals,
a particular feature in the desert southwest.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Building Mexico, More Update

I want to include a nice detail to the last post: 
and to the post from last year on this house:

In the photo above you can see the curved column 
that will hold up an arch.