A couple weeks ago, I started thinking about assembling a campus for Emerging Leader Labs, Agile Learning Centers, MetaCurrency and various other cool projects. I was looking at a site with a lot of facilities (127 bedrooms (sleeps 400), conference center commercial kitchen with 200 person dining room, etc.) and thinking about the projects we’d want to have around to retrofit these buildings to be energy efficient and maintainable.
I started thinking about what it would take to just build a campus that way to start with and it seemed like it would take a ridiculous long time with ridiculous expense… But the notion kind of haunted me.
I started looking into Compressed Earth Blocks which can typically be made from dirt right on site, are stronger than the specs for concrete block, have open source plans for a block-maker, etc. It started to look like for the cost of a few thousand dollars, we could make the structure of buildings from merely what is already on site and free. When structured correctly, walls can be super-insulated and built without mortar or cement.
That set me to thinking about the roof framing and the possibilities of a portable glulam machine which might make beams from scrap wood & brush cleared from the site as well.
Suddenly, the notion of building a campus started seeming more feasible.