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Nature Houses: Living Gently on Earth, Part 1 of 2

2022-09-07
Език:English
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In our two-part series, we’ll travel around the world to see how some of these housing structures encourage their inhabitants to embrace nature.

There is no clear record of when the first tree house was built, but it’s thought that in their most primitive form, they consisted of platforms built into trees. Today, the Korowai people living in the rainforest of Papua province, Indonesia, still dwell in tree houses, just as their ancestors did. These dwellings are mostly built in Banyan or Wanbom trees approximately 8 to 12 meters above the ground. In the West, people have also built tree houses, but mostly for purposes other than daily living.

In Turkey, tourists from around the world travel to Cappadocia in Ortahisar to rent houses built into their rocky mountains in order to experience living in a cave. The builders carved out the rock to make the caves and connecting passageways. Fortunately, the volcanic rock in the area is naturally strong, so it provides enough structural integrity to support the dwellings.

Turf houses in Iceland were originally constructed by settlers in the 19th century, using the simplest materials available. Timber was used for the roof structure, and the walls were made from stones or layers of stones and turf. Turf was then used to cover the houses, from the walls to the roofs. This kind of structure can support the weight of the turf and all the rainwater it absorbs for 25 to 50 years, depending on the regional climate.

Another type of nature house in a different part of the earth with even harsher weather is the igloo, a snow dwelling built by the Inuit, the indigenous people living in the Arctic and subarctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. The Inuit’s ancestors lived in this extremely cold climate for thousands of years, and developed the knowledge and skills needed to use natural materials common in the surrounding area to build safe comfortable houses.

From learning about traditional tree houses, cave houses, turf houses, and snow houses, we can better appreciate the wisdom and benefits of living close to nature.
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