After a 2009 fire destroyed Kelly Hagelund and Willow King's home in the Southcentral Alaska town of Kasilof, the family decided to rebuild. But their new home is anything but typical. They are building an Earthship.
The concept behind an Earthship is to be “a ship upon the earth,” meaning everything a person could need is contained within the dwelling itself, like a ship crossing the ocean centuries ago, King said during an interview at the structure this month. Mariners needed water, food and all other necessities of everyday life with them.
The house traps heat thanks to a wall of windows on the south side, letting Alaska’s light in when it’s scarce in the wintertime and abundant in the summer. Radiant heat is installed in the Earthship’s concrete pad floor, and trapped further by the thick concrete and eventual plaster that will make up the walls.
Some walls are still exposed, revealing bottles on their sides with light shining through, or tires stacked up one on top of the other, packed tight with earth and sand pounded in by jackhammer. Eventually, the house will boast an indoor garden, irrigated a “grey water” -- the water derived from things like washing dishes or bathing.