Arcopod: Off-grid in Baja California

Preliminary sketch for the second stage (completion of walled patio).

In Spring 2014 I started a new personal project: building a retreat in the desert, in front of a beautiful bay, close to Bahía de los Ángeles, Baja California, México. It is my take on the concept of arcology by Paolo Soleri.

Edoardo and Pepito.

The retreat, built under the supervision of Mauro Rosini, a friend, adventurer and a pioneer in self construction and sustainable living, will feature low voltage automation, high efficiency LED lighting, solar panels, satellite Internet, a desert greenhouse, desert garden, water storage and composting toilet (Humanure method).

Earthbags with a view.

The construction is a thick adobe structure made with polypropylene bags filled with local dirt and sand (earthbag). This technique provides great insulation (the sun and the winds can be pretty intense there) and resistance to earthquakes.

The desert mountains in the back.

Two sides of the building (North & West) have no openings to oppose the strong winds. A patio develops on the sea view sides (South & East). Many windows provide stunning views of the bay and archipelago.

The bay.

The cost of all the construction materials (without the patio) is $2,676. The overall building costs (including the above materials) have been $4,821. This is affordable. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that three months of work and six thousand dollars are enough to allow dignified life on a [beautiful] pile of rocks.

The roof beams.

If you’re curious, enjoy these pictures of the building progress. If you feel like you want to participate in this adventure, please feel free to reach out.

The first layer of concrete to cover the adobe.
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