Friday, November 19, 2010

Roundhouse at Cwm Harry - on the road again

Now that we have the paths finished at Cwm Harry, save for a bit of packing down and final dressing, we're turning our attention to the ROUNDHOUSE. This is intended to be a gathering point, demonstration of sustainable building, teaching resource, tool store and of course tea break hut for the project.

We have decided to simplify the original design and go for a reciprocating roof, with sedum covering. The upright posts are already in place so its been a question of re-planning things from there.

Lianne, Sue, Wayne, Sharon, Jocelyn and myself putting in the upright posts earlier this year.

I've helped to build a roundhouse at Lammas, (see earlier posts: Nigel and Cassie's roundhouse and Simon and Jasmine's roundhouse.) I haven't been involved in the design before though, so this is a really exciting project for me. In my long erratic working life I've used my schoolboy geometry a lot in making all sorts of things, guitars, buildings, pyramids etc. etc... So the bit I find really interesting is the RECIPROCATING ROOF. This is a clever way of making a large span with no supporting columns cluttering up the space. It's also possible to make one with tree trunks pretty much straight from the forest, so it's low-impact and low-cost if you have woodland anywhere near you. A roof like this could be put on any shape of building, we just happen to like the round floor plan. Yurts, teepees and other round homes make very sympathetic living space; you don't feel you're stuck in yet another box.

In a reciprocating roof, each of the beams supports its neighbour. It's possible to build one with any number of roof beams from three upwards.

(This drawing is from an interesting site: The Pavilion)

The final roof structure is self-supporting and puts no outwards horizontal force onto the wall structure, so it is really clever. (Our upright posts form a twenty-sided polygon of about 19 foot diameter and I've drawn up a plan with ten roof beams. This gives a beam between every second post, which will work out symmetrically over the doorway. We'll have to kick up two of the beams to give space for a full height door but will check that works on a scale model first.

Here's the plan so far:
Roof pole plan, doorway and arch detail and side elevation allowing for full height door.

Looking up into Nigel and Cassie's roof with the main ten roof beams as well as  the secondary ten in place. The blue sky was a rare sight last November...
This is the interior of a roundhouse that Simon built one or two before his Lammas houses. The main beams are filled in with smaller lateral poles to take the weight of the finished living roof...

...of the house known as The Hobbit House, for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Up we go...

You might find it interesting to compare this article in the FT about Peak Oil (which misses the point that oil discoveries peaked somewhere between 1961 and 1964) with something a bit more thorough on the same topic from the Oil Drum. Meanwhile, up the price goes:

The well-researched, rational, experienced voices are saying we have a problem. This is going to effect every aspect of YOUR life - wouldn't it be a good idea to do a bit of research yourself and see what you come up with?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Back from Rivendell

I was helping Steve with the six month Permaculture course for the Llandrindod Wells Transition group over the weekend. The setting at our friends' Ros and Brian's house, Nannerth Ganol, was just stunning; we feel we've been at a Council of the Elders with Elrond. Apart from being a wild and beautiful place there's a powerful ancestral energy up there. The house is over 500 years old but is surely the site of settlements going back for as long as there have been people anywhere in the country.
Steve took this shot the morning just before we left.

The "Peakists" have won

Full Article at Oil Drum:
This is Dr James Schlesinger giving one of the keynote talks at the recent ASPO-USA Conference. Dr. Schlesinger comes with a wealth of experience: He was the first Secretary of Energy, from 1977 - 1979. Prior to that, he had been Chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, US Secretary of Defense, and Director of Central Intelligence.
The video can be viewed (for free) at ASPO-TV. The article includes the text of his 11 minute talk, talking about the fact that oil production has been flat for six years. The "Peakists" have won the intellectual debate, but the political order will not respond......are YOU responding yet?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Walking Stories - A great website

I've been meaning for ages to post up this site by a guy I met at A Friend's of the Earth meeting in Dundee, Andrew Llanwarne. Check out:  Walking Stories for atmospheric photos and tales of Japan, China, Peru, Mexico etc etc etc, even Scotland!...and you won't even get your boots wet let alone have to fly anywhere.
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China