The Stunning Tiny House Earth Domes of Solscape

Introducing the Solscape Earth Domes. These beautiful natural buildings are each less than 10 square meters, and sit overlooking the ocean, amongst the beautiful hills of Raglan, New Zealand.

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The Earth Domes were built using a technique called earth-bag construction, where sturdy sacks are filled with material such as rock, sand and clay and then compacted down. The buildings each have a ferrocement roof and are finished off with a lime plaster.

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Together, these two domes were constructed for less than NZ$10,000.00. That figure includes all costs such as transport of materials and even food for the team.  A remarkably low-cost and yet still stunningly beautiful build.

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Although they are currently used as accommodation at Solscape Eco Retreat, it’s easy to see how easily these could be turned into spectacular, permanent tiny and ultra affordable earth houses with mezzanine sleeping loft, kitchen, bathroom and lounge areas.

SOLSCAPE-04These natural, tiny homes are a wonderful example, not only of the beauty of natural building, but also the inherent power for us all to be able to affordably build our own homes, and create safe, non-toxic housing, in a way that is not harmful to the environment and actually helps to enhance the natural landscape.

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Posted on by Bryce Posted in Tiny House Tours

About Bryce

I'm a film-maker with a passion for small space design, permaculture, and downsized, eco-friendly living. Join me on my travels as I meet people from all over the globe who are living big lives in wonderful tiny houses!

17 Responses to The Stunning Tiny House Earth Domes of Solscape

  1. Suzanne Wood-Puru

    Hi, beautiful buildings, was wondering how to get resource consent for such a building.I have land out in WaitunaWest in Newzealand and was removed off by land by police and council.

  2. Beth Jane

    Hi Bryce,
    Are you aware of any workshops or instructional info about this building style? Perhaps I’ll just phone the retreat… I’d like to dig one into a hill and include loo/shower, kitchen and glass door frontage. Thank you for this one! Very close to the tiny home of my daydreams.

    • Bryce

      Hey there. I’m not at the moment, but certainly give them a call to see. Also keep an eye on sheltercraft.org. Another great idea would be to join the earth building association of NZ. They have a newsletter that goes out and lists all the natural building courses that are going on.

  3. tom

    Lovely! What’s this about under “10square metres”? can one build beneath the radar at that size?

    • Paul

      What it means is you can build a structure up to a maximum of 10 square metres without a permit but it cannot have any sanitary capabilities. That means no toilet or running water e.g. shower, wash hand basin etc. In other words, generally a sleepout.

  4. Linda Pannell

    I love what you’ve done! We’re in Canada, just going through the final stages of getting permits to build something similar. Ours will be considerably larger, as well as bermed on three sides with a living roof. The process feels rather daunting at times, dealing with engineers and various officials. I’m hoping our experience will serve as a prototype that will eventually help make it easier for people to build simply and affordably. At the moment, because of various governmental hoops to leap through, it’s a great deal more expensive than it needs to be. But it’s an exciting journey, and seeing what you’ve done is a beautiful inspiration. Thank you!

    • Bryce

      Awesome Linda! Make sure you send us some photos of your place once it’s done!

    • Fitzi Grant

      Where are you located in Canada Linda?

    • Margaret

      I am extremely interested in hearing about your progress and what you went through. I have always thought living in a home like this would be very earthy and ecologically friendly. Our son is taking his Masters in Architecture so this would also be something that would be worthwhile to build for us.
      Will you be adding in kitchen/bathroom facilities? How large do you think your might end up being in square footage?

  5. Jennifer

    I love this idea, but I live in the Mid-Atlantic area of the U.S. Would the work for occasional harsh winters?

    • Bryce

      I think so, especially if you build in a wood stove. Earth acts like a thermal battery, holding in the heat, so it’s not a bad option for colder climates. Best to talk to a local earth builder in your area to find out what would work best for you.

  6. Katryna

    Thank you for your video. I was wondering about the “life span” of these type of dwellings. In addition, what is the average rainfall for the area?

    • Bryce

      Hey Katryna. Good question, and I’m not exactly sure. A lot of it would depend on how well it is constructed, and the environment that it’s in. Raglan (where these are constructed) is coastal, and gets a lot of rainfall, as does all of New Zealand! Lifespan of a building like this would, I think, depend largely on how well it is maintained. Earth Homes are simple to touch up, and if you take time each year to maintain things that need maintenance, then your home should last as long as you want it to!

  7. Adam Christy

    Sorry spell check changed your name from Bryce to Bruce. Sorry about that

    • Bryce

      Haha. All good. We all know the perils of spell check!

  8. Adam Christy

    This is fantastic. It’s very close to what I want to do when I return to NZ later this year. I’m so excited having seen this video to know it’s already being done in NZ and that there may answers to my many questions.

    I can’t wait to return to NZ and get started. Thanks Bruce and team for bringing us this you guys are amazing.

    • Bryce

      Awesome Adam! There are a lot of people doing great things with Earth Building in NZ. It’s certainly something that I would love to see happening more often!

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