‘History in the making right now’

‘History in the making right now’

Dreams have come true in Michigan thanks to a $100,000 boost from an Airbnb competition.

Pam Westra applied for the company’s OMG! Fund, in which interested parties submit their ideas for quirky dwellings and are given an allowance to design and build the project. When complete, Airbnb must be allowed to list it on the platform for tourists to stay.

The Hive, which is formed in the shape of bee hives, is what Westra had been fantasizing about for years, and the money allowed her to finally construct her unique property.

It is made using SuperAdobe, a process that sees sandbags filled with moistened earth and stabilizers, such as cement, lime, or asphalt emulsion. 

The bags are then arranged in coils and stacked, with barbed wire in between helping to keep them together. The result is environmentally friendly, fireproof, domed structures that are durable enough to withstand earthquake tests. 

“This was very labor intensive,” Westra told 9&10 News. “Each one of these rows was a sandbag that was hand filled, hand mixed cement that got put in the bag. And then you bring the cement bucket by bucketful and put it in those sandbags and the dome and layer by layer, it went up all summer long, very, very labor intensive,”

The homes did not require energy-intensive materials like steel or brick to build, ensuring that little planet-warming pollution was produced during the construction process. Meanwhile, it also required no heavy machinery, which would typically be powered by dirty fuel that releases harmful gases when burned.

The Huffington Post cited data from the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction that said 11% of global carbon pollution comes from building materials and construction, while a study summarized by The Guardian found construction was responsible for 18% of large particle pollution in the UK. 

That’s why finding low-carbon methods of construction is vital to reducing the rate of rising temperatures and the further deterioration of air quality — which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses.

But the planet-friendly possibilities of The Hive don’t just end with the build. Westra is hoping to encourage visitors to learn about bees and why the tiny pollinators are so crucial to the Earth’s survival.

“Not only are we bringing awareness to environmentally friendly ways to build things, but we are also bringing awareness to the bees,” Westra added. “The honeybees are very important to our environment and our lives, and without them pollinating things, we as humans are pretty lost.”

Martin Calkins, a friend of Westra’s who helped with the construction, was delighted to be involved in such an interesting project.

“It’s the only one in Michigan that is permitted,” he said, per 9&10 News. “And I was just super excited to be a part of it basically. And it’s, it’s history in the making right now.”

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‘History in the making right now’