First Roundhouse: Deconstruction

Some of us wanted to burn the house; a fitting end you might think, but it would have been unwise due to the close proximity of a row of pine trees, so deconstruction was the result.

We began by stripping the thatch from the apex. It gave little resistance because most of the ties had rotted, but we were amazed at the preservation of the bracken. It seemed to have years of use left in it.

The roof structure did not. It had sagged to an impractical height in places, and dramatically showed the strain of carrying the 3-4 ton load. It was quickly and safely dismantled within a few short hours. The internal posts, which we had added to support the failing roof, had to be cut down in order to weaken the structure before it could be removed. Even then, the top third of the cone retained its rigidity and shape, proving the success of the wattle cone at the apex. The dismantling confirmed our belief that we had dramatically underestimated the weight of the thatch when collecting timber for the roof.

The remaining wall was then kicked, bashed or pushed over. It had already splayed outwards in parts due to the two wall sections being inadequately connected. This was an important lesson.

Having used natural materials for our own benefit, it was only appropriate to give them back to Mother Earth so that she could also benefit, and continue with her good work. The thatch was spread around our woodland and the timber was left in a pile to rot. These will become homes and food for an uncountable number of organisms such as beetles, insects and fungi. The daub was collected up and stored ready to be re-used on the new Roundhouse. This is the beauty of using natural materials.

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•Decon Gallery
More pictures of taking down the first Roundhouse

•Finished House
Photos of the completed first Roundhouse

•Thatch Comparison
See the difference between the old and new  

•Gallery Index
Pictures of building both houses, plus lots more

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Newspaper clippings and book features on the house

•Other Houses
Our list and pics of similar buildings in the UK