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Description:

The Earth Huts are nestled into the the flank of the valley, most of them being located in an area that had been clear cut just a couple years prior to the development of the project. The rest of the Huts were carefully located amidst the forest of pine trees and above the pool, taking care to cut as few trees as possible. Two-thirds of the structure is built using modern insulated rammed-earth, making these huts extremely energy efficient. The walls are set back into the hill with their curved shape doubling as retaining walls. The other third of the structure is built using steel that projects out over the forest floor. Both the roof and the floor are super-insulated with spray-in foam, which combined with the double-glazed doors and windows completes the high-performance building envelop. Furthermore, each unit is equipped with a fresh air system and an HRV unit in order to minimize energy consumption while providing a healthy rate of air exchange. Finally, each Hut is equipped with a monitoring system that allow guests to track their energy consumption with the added advantage of having their room rates reduced if their energy use is below average. All the Earth Huts were designed and built to meet the requirements for LEED platinum.   The Earth Huts are the best expression of the project's overall design style: an eclectic mix of Chinese and African. A native of South Africa, the owner wanted to blend the idea of the African Rondavels - small round houses made of earth walls and thatched roofs - with the idea of the Chinese round earth houses, be they at completely different scales. All the earth for the Earth Huts was obtained from local quarries and rammed in-situ. All the roofs are finished with a local thatch which is expected to be replaced and composted every 18-24 months.

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