All Images Courtesy of Franck Deboute & Karine Montagnon
In 2009, architects Franck Deboute and Karine Montagnon decided to build their dream home and office. The site: the Pointe du Raz, hanging out over the Atlantic Ocean, in Brittany, France. The materials: straw, wood, and earth. The builders: Deboute and Montagnon themselves, along with a corps of volunteers interested in learning the techniques of low-impact building.
Deboute and Montagnon are both trained in design and building, and used their home's construction to provide free workshops for those willing to make the trip to the coast and lend a hand. Called the Embruns d'Herbe (which roughly translates to "sea spray of the grass"), the result is at once magnificent and simple.
The house is designed for low energy consumption; the family only used 2 cubic meters of wood for heating over the course of an entire year. Straw and earth have excellent heating and cooling properties, and Deboute and Montagnon are comfortable living and working in temperatures between 63° and 71°.
Deboute explains his philosophy on "auto-construction" :
The market system has distanced us from simple notions of basic buildings: the use of materials that surround us. Along with our need for comfort, we have developed much knowledge in technique, bioclimatic, and health, among other fields. It is within everyone's reach to realize their own "home" in the noble sense, and it's the greatest way to make it one's own.
And the best thing is that the building of the Embruns d'Herbe served to teach many more people how to build their own homes. If they open up their construction projects to other enthusiasts, there's no telling how many more great, green homes will pop up.
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More on self-built homes:
A Self-Built Solar-Powered, Solar-Heated Home with Solar Car (Video)
Young Couple Says NO to a Mortgaged Life
Build Your Own Green Home Game