For his project in Landmark Education’s self expression and leadership program, Jeff Tweddale took on building the family home. Except the home, being constructed on the beautiful Baja coast of Mexico, right on the Pacific Ocean, will be nothing close to ordinary, and it will be built by a community pitching in to realize the unique vision of Jeff and his wife Kate.
The Tweddales are creating a house with is 100% sustainable, using environmentally friendly earthbag construction. The approach is similar to using sandbags for a dike, or the adobe buildings of the southwest. Bags are filled with dirt or mineral material, and covered with light plaster. While the cost is low and the process is easy, the durability, structural integrity and insulation are actually quite good.
Another unusual aspect of the Tweddale’s building project is one of community involvement. They have invited a team of friends, neighbors, associates and the general public together to take part, and created a ‘Hootenanny in Baja’ website to acknowledge the team, showcase environmentally friendly building and document the building of the home.
Through their open invitation to participate, the Tweddales hope that others will be inspired to learn these techniques and undertake their own projects. Their invitation also provides benefits: For every day someone works on the house, they are promised three days in the future to vacation there later. The Tweddales have also built a beautiful camp environment for workers, with infrastructure including water, septic system, shower, toilet, outdoor kitchen, sink, satellite internet, and free phone service to USA. Every worker is also promised three cooked meals a day.
So far, the Hootenanny website showcases about 30 volunteers ranging in age from 2 to 65. The Tweddales are also expecting a group called Extra Mile Adventure to participate, a group of philanthropic travelers organized through a different SELP project. The building will take place from November 20 through January 13, 2009. Those interested in participating or viewing the progress of the home should visit http://web.me.com/bookingcenter/Jeff/Hootenanny_In_Baja.html.