We have finally found a use for old used tires besides taking them to the dump and paying up to $3 to dispose of them. You guessed it, we can build a house out of them. The idea may seem far fetched but it works. The Earthship is designed using tires as the main building component. Each tire is rammed full of earth using a sledge hammer or a pneumatic tamper. When the tire is finished being rammed they weigh upwards of 300 pounds.
In this image you can see Graziella pounding the dirt into the side of the tire. The process takes somewhere around 15 minutes to half an hour per tire. When you are finished with a tire you start the next tire by placing it next to the first one and then packing it full the same way. The rooms of the house are created by laying the tires in a large U shape with the open side of the U facing south (Hence, a room is not called a "room, but a "U"). Once you finish the first row of tires, the second row is done the same way with the tires offset like bricks.
You can see by this picture how the tires are laid like bricks and packed
full of earth.
In this picture, you can see how over time the tires start building up. By the end of the tire process, we had ten rows of tires. Believe me, when you are on top of the tenth row, the slightest movement makes it feel like you are in a mild earthquake (once the roof is on, all movement is stopped...!). You can see in this picture how the end of every other row of tires there is a concrete block. This is because every other row you can't place a tire so you use concrete blocks instead.