Space Containment and Housing


Space Containment and Housing

Space Containment and Housing is a group for collecting, sharing, and brainstorming emergency, temporary, portable, and permanent housing using alternative and low-tech methods and materials.

Thanks to Michael Treehouse for the appropriate name of this group and the diagram in our heading (see

Members: 15
Latest Activity: Oct 13, 2018

The time is coming when simple, easy-to-build shelter will be an important need to be filled.

There are many of us now who need reliable, easily transported shelter, and there are some of us who have a strong understanding and background in these things.

Whyt Mountain bear has recently started a discussion about one such type of structure and Michael Treehouse has contributed greatly to that thread.

There is more detail that needs to be ironed out, so I've created this group to accommodate those discussions, and any others pertaining to our need for safe reliable structures.

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Comment by Morgan on October 19, 2011 at 11:52am

Nice clean spiritual design.

And the upper deck could be used for gear stowage, or a cradle.

Thanks once again, brother.

Comment by Michael treehouse on October 19, 2011 at 11:26am
A way to cut a one-peice covering material for the five-pole tipi
Comment by Michael treehouse on October 19, 2011 at 11:11am

An outline of a five-pole tipi, based on Golden Proportions.

Aside from its beauty, this proportion is close to the high space/volume ratio for a pyramid. 

It can be built with 20' poles and nailed, or lashed together, and covered with whatever materials are at hand.  Thatching might be good if you can get the right stuff.

There are diagonals at the first level, and a set of horizontals at a good place for a second floor. This is for the extra strength you need when using so few poles, and is positioned to preserve the golden ratios inherent in the five-way symmetry, so and you will see many of the same lengths repeated elsewhere.

A six-pole version would work the same way.

Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 5:04pm
1) Always scratch the sides of the bottle to create better grip to the sealant. The top part where the bottle meets the metal is the leak point in the build so use industrial strength sealant (epoxy or DOW Corning 791) on the top and bottom if possible.

2) Always put a protective cover over the bottle cap as the suns rays tend to make the original bottle cap brittle and a crack in the bottle cap will allow the water in the bottle to leak during evaporation.

3) Always RIVET the metal sheet holder on to the roof.

4) DON't USE THIN METAL ROOFING SHEETS. there will be no bite on the plastic bottle and the different expansion rates will cause leaks later on. Go for thicker roof sheet.
Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 5:00pm
Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 10:36am

This really belongs in "Living Well After the Earth Changes, but since I haven't yet created that one, I'm posting it here for now-

Use a 2-Liter Bottle as a 50 Watt Light Bulb

The physics of the concept are straightforward: the bottles are placed in roofs – half outside, half inside – and their lower portions refract light like 60-Watt light bulb but without the need for a power source. A few drops of bleach serve to keep the water clear, clean and germ-free for years to come.


Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 7:36am
Don't miss the new comments on using tire rims for hubs posted in the HexaYurt forum
Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 6:43am


If you are considering using R-MAX or other foam board for construction, read this!

Hexayurt Safety Information  

From Appropedia

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Important safety notice. Please do not build hexayurts out of any flammable material. This goes double for foam! In the past, people have built them from non-fire rated materials including polyisocyanurate insulation (Tuff-R from Dow, often sold at Home Depot.) I do not regard that as safe if the building is exposed to sources of ignition like open flame, or mains electrical devices. Any non-fire rated substance should not be used for camping, and is generally suitable only for demonstration purposes.

Although free-standing foam may not burn well, an enclosure made of foam can burn catastrophically. The foam traps the heat, reflecting it back to the fire and quickly igniting the entire building. According to this article, temperatures can reach 10,000 degrees and buildings have literally been blown apart by the sheer force of the flames. Warehouse-sized buildings can be fully engulfed in under five minutes. The article is about urethane foam, but polyisocyanurate will probably behave similarly.

Here is some video of a sheet of R-MAX (which is very similar to Tuff-R) being set on fire. As expected, it does not burn well in open air. However, this should not give a false sense of security about foam-lined buildings. Foam manufacturers used to think their foam was "self-extinguishing" - but in an enclosed space, it is not.

(shot by Arthur Zwern of

In addition, bidirectional filament tape has turned out to be very flammable, and burns hot enough to ignite Tuff-R type insulation. This is a "negative synergy" - the two materials together are more of a fire risk than either alone, because the fast-burning tape can ignite the boards. We highly recommend covering all exposed filament tape with foil tape, which is a few dollars a roll at Home Depot and similar places. has pictures of the test conducted by Spiral which revealed this problem. Thanks, Spiral!

Estimation of fire risk for any given situation is a decision that only the person building the hexayurt can make. I recommend you watch the video, get a clear sense of what's going on, and make your own judgments. All we do is make the information available, and you make the decision.

Good luck, and enjoy your Burn.


Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 6:31am

Having slept on that rim idea, I woke up with a couple of thoughts.

It could be done without the tire. Poles could be lashed together up tight against the rim with spacer blocks held in place between the rim and lashing, and lumber could be held in place with spacers nailed in place

Your hub was already there all along, we just had to notice it. Well done, Michael.

The ideal rims for this would probably be donut spare tire rims or rims from compact/foreign cars. I'd bet they're real cheap at the wrecking yards.

I'm seeing this used for a dome, also, with maybe flexible saplings arced in for primary structure in the wilds. Where technology is available, perhaps fiberglass poles or poly pipe.

You're the hands-on guy, Michael. Does that sound doable?

Comment by Morgan on October 18, 2011 at 6:17am

Michael Treehouse has a lot of inspirational structural concept pictured on his page - here's one of them:

Agreed, Brother Bear. we owe thanks to Micheal's creativity for solutions, and your initiative for starting the project, and to the source of inspiration from which all things flow.

As I see it, a lot of good came from this project. Personally I think we can all just feel gratified we pulled together and solved a problem.

Cyber-brainstorming is a blast!


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