Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A day filled with the past and the future

For a while now Tracy has been mentoring a future architect at the local school. He is a great kid of 11 years. Its been interesting watching him absorb what has been shared with him and see his eagerness to learn. One of the ideas that was discussed was the use of alternative building materials. Being in Belize other materials are not only discussed they also are able to be put into use. While listening to them talk I recalled a property that I had seen highlighted a while back and had to share it with them. Earthship Belize is a very unique property with a focal point of an earth rammed base and a combination glass bottle and concrete walled structure.

Of course once it had been discussed we HAD to go on a field trip! The location is roughly 2 hours away from us and a plan was made. Situated within sight of the earthship is strangely enough, Lubaantun on of the many Mayan ruins that are scattered around Belize. Its been on our list of sites to see so why not knock out both on the same day? 

Upon arrival at the earthship we were greeted by the owners Alisa and Richard Atkinson. The last name is a story all to iteslf! We discussed the design and concept along with the history of the property.

Walking through a piece of art is an interesting phenomenon. You feel as though your head is on a swivel with something new to see at every turn.

The structure is 2 stories tall with the third level being the base for water collection. Originally intended to be a house the plans have changed a bit and the current concept is for a restaurant.

Without the use of traditional building materials the ability to make it flow freely became evident. Curves, arches, waves, all which are near impossible with concrete block danced along like flowing water.

So full of color and detail. It was interesting seeing the different types of bottles that were used along the way. The technique is definitely a labor of love as every bottle is cut and joined with another so that the light can shine through. 

If you are ever in the area I would suggest a side trip to one of the most unique buildings you will see.

We were offered to stay for lunch by our gracious hosts but first we had to head next door to the ruins. After using my Belize social security card to prove that we lived here were were in! Lubaantun has some interesting history as it was one of the places in the world where a "crystal skull" had been "found". The story is a little shakey but a fascinating one anyway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_skull 

A stark contrast to the free flowing modern house that we had just seen the ruins had squared edges that seemed to defy the tools that were available at the time of construction. 

Much of many of the ruins had been toppled giving way to the mayan name for the site. Lubaantun means "place of the fallen rocks". I am always in amazement at the thought of how long it must have taken to move and complete such interesting structures. 

Perfectly stacked, curved edges, seemingly mortorless joints created my an ancient civilization.

After spending some time at the ruins we went back to the earthship, had a great lunch with our fantastic hosts and with daylight becoming a concern, made our departure back to Placencia.