More info: The Conch Shell Hose is said to be the
most outstanding and original house in the island of Isla Mujeres.
Surrounded by Caribbean Ocean (180 degrees of ocean views from the
windows) it gives you an unique opportunity to experience what it’s like
living in a Sea Shell. The conch shell house was built using a fairly
traditional foundation, such as concrete, as well as recycled and found
materials. The owner of the house Octavio Ocampo is a well known artist,
whose brother Eduardo is an architect (he also has a house on that
island, but a more traditional).
If you enter the house you would be surrounded by a wonderful shell
themed interior. The main room has no corners – it is round. The
upstairs bathroom sink is made out of the base of a conch shell, the
faucets are made out of coral, the towel racks are made from conch
shells and other seashells and items found on the local beach.
Some technical info: 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4, 5500 sq. ft. , 2
Bathrooms, 1 Half Bath, near the ocean, swimming pool, air-conditioning,
More info: From the author: “You are looking at
pictures of a house I built for our family in Wales. It was built by
myself and my father in law with help from passers by and visiting
friends. 4 months after starting we were moved in and cosy. I estimate
1000-1500 man hours and £3000 put in to this point. Not really so much
in house buying terms (roughly £60/sq m excluding labour).”
“The house was built with maximum regard for the environment and by
reciprocation gives us a unique opportunity to live close to nature.” he
This building is one part of a low-impact or permaculture approach to
life. This sort of life is about living in harmony with both the
natural world and ourselves, doing things simply and using appropriate
levels of technology.
When asked why he is doing this, he gave this answer: “ It’s fun.
Living your own life, in your own way is rewarding. Following our dreams
keeps our souls alive.”
(image credits: Simon)
Some key points of the design and construction:
Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
Frame of oak thinnings (spare wood) from surrounding woodland
Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally and aesthaetically fantastic and very easy to do
Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture (compared to cement)
Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
Anything you could possibly want is in a rubbish pile somewhere (windows, burner, plumbing, wiring…)
Woodburner for heating – renewable and locally plentiful
Flue goes through big stone/plaster lump to retain and slowly release heat
Fridge is cooled by air coming underground through foundations
Skylight in roof lets in natural feeling light
Solar panels for lighting, music and computing
Water by gravity from nearby spring
Roof water collects in pond for garden etc.
Main tools used: chainsaw, hammer and 1 inch chisel, little else
really. Oh and by the way I am not a builder or carpenter, my experience
is only having a go at one similar house 2yrs before and a bit of
mucking around inbetween. This kind of building is accessible to anyone.
My main relevant skills were being able bodied, having self belief and
perseverence and a mate or two to give a lift now and again.