On February 23, 2014 more than 70 people from around the world and the Philippines converged in Batug to build the first Windship the world has ever seen. A Windship is an Earthship-inspired typhoon bunker built using recycled materials employing a closed loop waste management system. Michael Reynolds, the founder of Earthship Biotecture and an architect who has been building living structures from trash for 40 years is the designer of the Windship.

Why does this matter for the community of Batug? Typhoon Yolanda destroyed many buildings in its wake. One of the only buildings left operable was the convention center in Tacloban, which is a giant cylinder. This is because the curves all over the building allow wind to deflect off the building as opposed to slamming against a flat surface (i.e. wall). The Windship has an aerodynamic shape with a firmly rooted base and its super sustainable.

Windship aero

The principles used to design and construct the Windship come from 40 years of experience transforming trash into sustainable homes. It is the first time this specific design has been experimented with and we’ll only know for sure if its going to last when its put to the test of a typhoon. From what I see, this thing is solid and will save lives.

The Windship is built with a base of tires rammed with earth, then stacked with alternating layers of recycled bottles and concrete. The interior walls are currently being finished with adobe sourced and mixed on site. The structure is two domes with an open area in the middle joined by a majestic arch. The middle is where the garden beds will be built to treat greywater and blackwater waste. The dome roofs catch water into two cisterns and most of the building is buried from the outside. We plan on using this space to grow food. The Windship sits on the land of the school in Batug and will be used as classrooms and a community space. The entire building also serves as a giant musical instrument, which can be played with sticks and stones. The kids love it.

Kids Gift

We built the whole thing in ten days gifted with 4000 manhours offering a labor of love, Pintakasi. Here, Pintakasi is a community sharing a common vision in the spirit of giving. People coming together exponentially amplify the resonance of a vision and the flow becomes so strong that a vision can morph into reality. There were 15 people from the motley Earth Village Project team, 15 local volunteers, 10 folks from the Earthship crew and 30 foreign earthship volunteers. We came together as one and that’s why it happened.

Windship Everyone

The local volunteers were teamed up with Earthship crew throughout the build with translators to facilitate knowledge transfer. The volunteers presented what they learned to the Earthship crew and got feedback and further clarifications on applying the technology to a local context.

Local Volunteer Presentation

The Windship is a piece of art that can save lives. Looking forward, we are continuing work on the interior systems and the Earthship crew is planning to come back in a few months to continue their efforts. We look forward to round two. The structure is complete and in the event of a typhoon it will serve as a bunker for the community. The Windship has been gifted to the kids from Batug School and it will be used as classrooms. The local volunteers are charged with applying a Filipino flavor to what they’ve learned so they can rebuild for the last time.