I discovered an intriguing documentary title on Netflix, the Garbage Warrior. After reading about it and watching a trailer I added it to the Netflix queue. It’s about architect Michael Reynolds and his vision of how a structure should be built in consideration of the environment. He’s been involved in green, eco-friendly architecture since 1969 when he began his work after graduating the University of Cincinnati. Reynolds’ Green Earthships are self-sustainable homes made out of recycled materials. Used tires, plastic bottles, glass bottles, and beer cans are the tools that make up the thermal mass of these self-sufficient homes.
Within a month of seeing the Garbage Warrior a road trip to Taos, New Mexico was scheduled with plans to stay at The Phoenix. The Phoenix is an Earthship that is currently for sale, located at the “Greater World” Earthship Community just west of Taos, New Mexico across the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
The night before our one night stay at The Phoenix we pulled up to Best Western and after a long 12 hour road trip we were ready to rest. It was centrally located in Taos. After schlepping our bags up the stairs and into the room we checked out the room. It was small in size with two double beds close together, it had a community balcony and we got to hear the conversation our neighbor was having on the phone. Not my idea of restful or relaxing. The thin walls offered the feeling of being in the same space as the neighbor, so we decided to go locate something a little better for the money being spent. We traveled down Paseo de Pueblo Sur and looked at other lodging facilities; we finally ended up at the Sagebrush Inn in the heart of Taos. This property was so much better than the Best Western. It was a large room with a fireplace, patio, micro-fridge, King Bed & a Queen Murphy Bed. The room was more than twice the size of Best Western and maybe $50 more.
The following morning after a good night’s rest we were ready to get to The Phoenix, our appointment time wasn’t until 2 P.M. so we went to Cid’s Food Market. Cid’s is a natural, organic and whole foods market. We picked up groceries here. Being traveling Vegans it is not always easy finding dining establishments that offer Vegan-friendly foods. For lunch we went to Song’s Japanese and Sushi Restaurant, which was nice, with good food. We spent a little time at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and took photos and then headed west.
Arriving at the “Greater World” Earthship Community at the welcoming center it was a whole new world. Across the way a team of workers were building the E.V.E. (Earthship Village Ecologies). The team is made up of interns led by experienced Earthship builders. Entering the Welcoming Center you will find a store with books and souvenirs you can purchase along with tours of the community. They have a viewing room where you can watch videos on the Earthship Biotecture process and background.
As you drive through the Earthship Community you will find all the homes are built into the earth with the unique Biotecture Michael Reynold’s has designed. All the rooms are U shaped and the windows face south at a 60 degree angle designed to be adaptable to just about any climate to maximize heat gain in the winter and minimize it in the summertime. This Biotecture provides you with green systems that gathers water from the sky, produces its own electricity, and produces food.
We arrive at The Phoenix, it’s a distance from any of the other homes and located in the deserts hills. It’s a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a full kitchen and dining room. The living area is equipped with a flat screen TV, DVD player, fireplace with a waterfall and lush tropical indoor gardens. The front of the house where you will find the greenhouse is thriving with plants and home-grown fruits and vegetables. You will also find a fishpond where you can catch fresh Tilapia. Throughout the house you will see walls that look like they have a stained glass design, which is made of recycled glass bottles. You will also see wall designs made from the recycled plastic bottles as well. Outside you will find a fire pit and nearby a chicken coop for gathering fresh eggs. The Phoenix was a very Zen experience that offered clean air. There’s no HVAC system, with air passing through dirty filters and dusty ductwork. Only fresh air oxygen producing plants that clean and purify the air. This is the kind of restful, relaxing stay after a long trip we were looking for and it provided us with much more than the previous night’s hotels experience and cost less.
All images I took. Video to be provided later.
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