Measurement for an Earthship’s Battered Retaining Wall

Michael Reynolds checking Battered retaining tire wall at the Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica HolyBattered retaining tire wall of 1 1/2 inches per row at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica HolyBattered retaining tire wall of Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica Holy

Just as each row must be measured tire to tire to make sure it remains level from end to end; so too does the wall need to be measured from the ground up to the top, and backwards.

In the latest style of Earthship (the Global Model) the retaining walls would stagger or ‘batter’ on a slight angle in towards the berm, for structural integrity. That is to say as each layer proceeded higher than the last, it was no more than an inch to an inch and a half pushed backwards from the one under it. Once again a level and measurement let us know if we were veering off course.

Using vertical level from bottom tire row to measure horizontal distance from upper tire wall at the Michael Reynolds Earthship build, image by Monica HolyVertical level and perpendicular Batter measurement at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica Holy

Vertical level and horizontal measurement for battering tire wall at the Michael Reynolds Earthship build, image by Monica HolyVertical level and perpindicular batter measurement of tire wall at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica Holy

After the first row of tires went up and was ascertained to be flush with the initial line and level to each other…

Battered retaining tire wall with mid horizontal plum line at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica HolyHorizontal pink plum line on Battered tire wall at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica HolyMid height horizontal plum line for battered tire wall at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica Holy

…a horizontal plumb line was run (tacked) from each of the opposite end tires just before the wing walls started curving off to the side. This provided an excellent point of reference for the second row going up.

Extending the vertical level for Batter measurement of tire wall at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica HolyExtending the vertical level for Batter measurement of tire wall at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica Holy

Using a level to touch the string on the first course of tires, and a measuring tape set perpendicular to the level the distance between rows could be read.

Overview of vertical level with perpindicular measure of Battered retaining tire wall at Michael Reynolds BC Earthship build, image by Monica Holy

So long as it was 1 to 1.5 inches back from the layer below, all was fine. If however it was under or over that 1.5inches a bit of muscling was required to push or pull that tire back or forwards into the appropriate spot. That sounds easier than it is. Once a tire is pounded it becomes a dense 250 lb brick so there is no shame in sitting on your butt and using your leg muscles to maneuver it into place., at least that’s what I tell myself.

Image credits: Monica Holy

9 Responses to Measurement for an Earthship’s Battered Retaining Wall
  1. Earthships 101 part II « Solar Landscape Lighting
    November 2, 2010 | 3:19 pm

    […] Measurement for an Earthship's Battered Retaining Wall | Middle … […]

  2. distance measurement
    April 3, 2011 | 9:46 pm

    The Earthship Volumes are aimed at making this concept physically available to owner builders. If the methods put forth in these books are followed, the result is a very “substantial living module.”

  3. […] adds to the challenge, is that each tire row needs to be ‘Battered Back’ by 1 1/2 […]

  4. […] slope of the ‘Battered Tire Wall’ is evident with the scratch coats of plaster inside the Studio […]

  5. […] plaster finish, showing the natural bulge outlining the shape of the tire wall that’s been ‘Battered Back’ […]

  6. […] is really starting to come along, and ties in nicely to the Rammed Earth Tire Wall that’s ‘Battered Back’ and used as a retaining/supporting wall against the back berm of the smaller Studio Earthship to […]

  7. […] cozy (left), and shows well the Bottle Wall (right) next to the Brown Coat Plaster finish over the ‘Battered’ Tire Wall […]

  8. […] slope of the ‘Battered Tire Wall’ is evident with the scratch coats of plaster inside the Studio […]

  9. Distance Sensors
    November 21, 2011 | 7:02 am

    Sensors are transforming the way engineers think about position sensing
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