Hill House - Underground/Bermed Earthbag Dome
This is a simple idea that I've been working on lately. I plan to build a guest house/storm shelter based on this idea in the near future.


In the US, 500 sandbags run around $150. You would need part of a roll of barbed wire ($35?), a couple of pieces of 20' poly ($30?) a used or home made door and wood for a frame (could be harvested on site). Total cost would definitely be well under $300. The finished structure would be fire proof, earthquake resistant and hurricane/flood proof as long as it isn't built in a flood plain. Making the door face south in the N. hemisphere and north in the S. hemisphere would give one a little solar gain and more light in the winter. House is definitely suggested for places with a comfortable ground temperature and would require no heating or cooling. In places with a high water table, dome could be built at grade level or above, on a mound, and then bermed, one could dig a pond for the earth. Sorry my drawing is so primitive. For details on how to build an earthbag dome, one can refer to the book "Earthbag Building" or look it up online.

Obviously, one would want to plaster the inside. One could run an electrical line for solar panels, etc, next to the door. There are lots of little upgrades that could be added, this is just the basic structure. One could add a loft by putting logs across a row of bags at the desired height and then building upon that as was done with the Honey House.

One would need a lintel at the top of the door frame or they could build an arch out of bags. A lintel  could be made from cut logs or dimensional lumber. The lintel would keep the weight of the bags from warping the door frame.

This structure wouldn't require outside plastering, a stem wall or roof system

Thank you and I hope this design is helpful.

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