Mike Reynolds: the Garbage Warrior

The man who have devoted his life to professing the faith of "Earthship Biotecture"

by Rossana Vinci
19 Love 12792 Visits


What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have in common?

Not much unless you're renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in which case they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independent housing.

In the 70s, New Mexico-based Mike Reynolds, architect (or self-proclaimed 'biotect') and environmentalist, invented "Earthships" built from waste, a crazy new idea that propelled him to the rank of global sustainable architecture star.


For 30 years Reynolds and his green disciples have devoted their time to advancing the art of "Earthship Biotecture" by building self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and function converge in eco-harmony.


Hippie architect Michael Reynolds has spent the past 35 years creating eco-friendly homes known as 'Earthships'.



“I just blew off the architecture profession, really. I mean, I have blown it off in my mind as a profession because it’s not addressing the issues that we face. So I coined a new word called ‘biotechure,’ and I use that. I would say I’m a ‘biotect.


This Earthship, located in Normandy, is insulated with tires, while the interior consists of bottles inserted in cement made with mud and straw.

© Courtesy of Earthship global


The 2005 documentary, The Garbage Warrior, follows Michael Reynolds as he works to pass the “The Sustainable Development Testing Site Act” Legislation that allows land to be set aside for the testing and development of sustainable buildings.

It gives innovators the freedom to dream up a solution, and go out and test their methods the next day. The building pictured below is the result of Reynolds’ legislative battle, EVE, also known as Environmental Village Ecologies.


© Courtesy of Earthship global


Mike set up an experimental community in Taos, New Mexico, where he built the first Earthships using natural local materials and waste: aluminum cans, glass bottles, food cans, etc.

One of his great ideas, were these walls, made of worn tires filled with compressed earth which naturally regulate the inside temperature.


Earthship Home - © Courtesy of Earthship global

© Courtesy of Earthship global


Reynolds’ latest project is an ultra-green public elementary school made out of repurposed materials. The building is set in a remote Buenos Aires town, where Reynolds will teach students from around the world the basics of self-sustaining architecture.


Sustainable school in Jaureguiberry, Uruguay


Michael Reynolds puts in the work on his sustainable school in Jaureguiberry, Uruguay.





Cover photo: Got bottle: Reynolds incorporates used tyres, glass and cans into his building designs

More info at: https://www.earthshipglobal.com/