Two of our favorite Sydney area venues for Eremos Retreat Days are the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat in the Blue Mountains and Bundeena House in the Royal National Park south of Sydney.
Blue Labyrinth Earth Room
The room is a hybrid of several natural building techniques resulting in its own unique character. The foundations and pillars consist or rows of rammed earth car tyres – inspired by Earthship design. The walls are straw bales, providing excellent insulation properties. The tyres and straw bales are rendered with several layers of a cob mix (sand, straw, water, clay) with the final layer of render including a bit of lime.
The building features stunning cob sculptures with a large, whimsical Tree Of Life covering the entire back wall, essentially hugging the building. The tyre pillars have been sculpted into tree trucks; other art includes Celtic Tripal spiral and Sun/Moon sculptures.
The inside features sculpted cob shelves and vines with ‘bottle’ leaves and other bottle art. A strip of cordwood floor runs the length of the room, with individually cut pieces of cypress pine inlaid in an earth render. The room is energy-efficient utilising passive solar design with the large, north-facing double-glazed windows allowing the winter sun to enter the room and warm the thermal mass walls, and pavers on the floor, which then release the heat slowly. In summer the eaves protect the room from the summer sun.
Everything in the room is recycled, salvaged and re-purposed. The walls are painted in a natural lime-wash so the room feels fresh and free of chemical off-gassing.
It was made with love and contains the spirit, energy and goodwill of many people.
More photos from Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat in the Blue Mountains