Not all architecture is made with bulldozers, contractors and cranes — there are actually some buildings that are carefully and thoughtfully crafted together by hand. These structures have a very unique, handmade aesthetic and are inherently earth-friendly through their low-impact construction and recycled materials.

These three houses are perfect examples of beautiful homes that were built painstakingly by hand. Many of them use recycled and uncommon building materials, and all of them have a whole lot of love.

Earthships (ROW 1)
Earthship Biotecture, based in Taos, New Mexico, markets and designs these homes, which are most notably constructed using rammed earth recycled tire exterior walls and alumninum can and glass bottle interior partition walls. The strong building philosophies of these structures include building with recycled, local and easily accessible materials and utilizing active and passive solar power. Plans can be bought by Earthship Biotecture and adapted to the local environment and assembeled by teams of people — Earthships are currently located all over the world including Europe and Africa.

Eliphante (ROW 2)
Cobbled together over the course of more than 28 years using found materials, Eliphante is what originally began as a sculptural piece. Artists Michael Kahn and Leda Livant have been working on what is now a series of structures, which sprawl in free form over three-acres in Cornville, Arizona. The tunnel-like structure is covered in handpainted brush strokes and a variety of glass, metal and ceramic mosaics. The walls are punctured by beautiful stained glass windows. Driftwood branches were taken from a nearby creek and are used throughout as structural elements, window divides, sculptures. While there is no bathroom on the property, there is a piano built right into a wall!

Low-Impact Woodland Home (ROW 3)
This home has made it around the Apartment Therapy sites a couple of times — for good reason! This hobbit-like house was built by Simon Dale, with the help of a few friends and family members, using common household tools, all in just a few months time and around £3000. Dale wanted the house to be as close to nature as possible, and did so both literally and figuratively — the house was built into a hillside for minimal impact on the land and minimal visual appearance. The house is made from tree trunks, strawbales, plaster, shipping pallets, a variety salvaged building materials, solar photovoltaic panels, and uses harvested rainwater and a composting toilet.

(Images: House Tour: Eliphante & Hippodome, Earthship Biotecture, A Low Impact Woodland Home)

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