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Alternative Construction: Contemporary Natural Building Methods

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 858-0000151862
ISBN-10: 0471249513
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Editorial Reviews


"Cheers to John Wiley & Sons and the editors and authors who pulled this impressive book together...if you're intrigued by alternative building and want to see which of the many existing techniques is right for your application, this book makes a great starting point." (Richard Engel, Home Power)

From the Back Cover

The first comprehensive guide to combining traditional natural materials and modern construction methods.

From adobe to straw bales, traditional building materials are being adapted to meet code-required standards for health and safety in contemporary buildings around the world. Not only are they cost effective and environmentally friendly, but, when used correctly, these natural alternatives match the strength and durability of many mainstream construction materials.

This book examines a broad range of traditional and modern natural construction methods, including straw-bale, light-clay, cob, adobe, rammed earth and pisé, earthbag, earth-sheltered, bamboo, and hybrid systems. It also covers key ecological design principles, as well as current engineering and building code requirements.

Experts on each building system have contributed core chapters that explore the history, development, climatic appropriateness, environmental benefits, performance characteristics, construction techniques, and structural design principles for each method. More than 200 visuals depict both construction processes and completed structures. An extensive resource guide shows where to go for further information, training, and research.

In an increasingly resource-conscious era, alternative construction is truly an idea whose time has come. Whether you're an architect, designer, student, or homeowner, this book will help you to combine indigenous building materials with modern construction systems and design standards to create low-impact, high-quality buildings that meet the highest levels of comfort, health, and safety.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley (March 24, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471249513
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471249511
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,179,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent resource book for those seeking to learn more about alternative construction methods and materials. It introduces the reader to straw bale, cob, light straw clay (a marvelous material), rammed earth and many other ecologically appropriate materials. It doesn't provide enough detail to help you build with these materials but it will help you choose which might be good for you and guides you to some of the key people and resources. The chapter on natural conditioning of houses is outstanding and provides performance estimates for a variety of building materials in cities as diverse as Denver and El Centro.
david bainbridge is one of the authors of the Straw Bale House and a pioneer in passive solar heating and cooling.
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Format: Paperback
If you have read few other books on alternate construction this is a good book for a general survey of current trends in natural building. Some good pointers on where to go for more details.
If you are looking for an actual how-to guide to various building methods, this book is not the one you want. Certainly not as a solo guide if you are looking to be an owner-builder in the sense of building yourself.
Worth reading by checking it out from your library, not worth purchasing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't done anything but dream yet, but my friends borrowed the book and used it extensively in planning their passive solar home. Like others have mentioned it does not have explicit instructions for any of the buildings, but has enough information to help you choose your direction.
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