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About Blue Rock Station

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On the eve of the birth of their grandchild (Catlyn), Jay and Annie Warmke looked out over the foothills of the Central Appalachian Mountains in Muskingum County Ohio and felt they had come home.  They bought the 38-acre tract that makes up Blue Rock Station in 1993, and dreamed of creating a retreat for their extended family.

A few months later, while listening to WMNF public radio (Tampa, FL), Annie heard architect Michael Reynolds of Solar Survival in Taos, New Mexico talking about a new type of home he designed that used clean waste like old tires and bottles.  He called his design an "Earthship."  The seed had been sown.

Construction of the original 1,650 square foot house began in 1996.  During a nine-week period, 1,200 tires were brought in from an illegal dump site cleaned up by the Environmental Protection Agency near Roseville, OH.  The tires were rammed with earth and used to create the walls of the single-family dwelling.  Most of the wood used in the construction of the roof trusses and window framing was re-claimed from local barns.

Annie served as the contractor and project manager for the building of the original structure, with Jay serving as the support person and weekend carpenter.  They worked on this project during summers and vacations, taking a three-year break in 2001 to move to Europe.  In August, 2004 they returned to Blue Rock Station to live full time and create the premier green living center in Ohio.  Over 25,000 visitors have walked through the living room of the Earthship.

The addition of a 600 square foot sun room was completed in 2010.  This room has a foundation of 75 rammed-earth tires.  The walls are constructed of straw bales, beer bottles, and glass bottles.

Two other wooden buildings were constructed from re-used barn wood in 1999.  One of the buildings is used as a garage to hold tools and store the chopped wood for the winter stove.  In 2008 a straw bale addition was added to this building, and another straw bale section was added in 2012 to house the biodiesel station.

The other building that was constructed from re-used barn wood is a small barn used to house the milk goats.  The slate on the roof of the barn was removed from two buildings that were about to be torn down.  A straw bale addition was added in 2009, and a milk room addition made of rammed-earth tires, straw bales, plus cans and bottles was added in 2010.  Water is collected in rain barrels to provide an ongoing fresh source of water for livestock.

The chickens live in a vaulted straw bale “chicken chalet” - designed to house the flock of rare breed chickens.

The Dogwood Chalet, a vaulted straw bale building was completed in 2012.  This 120 sq. ft. building houses interns year round and contains a deck for summer living.  Much of the art work was designed and built by summer interns.

The Plastic Bottle Green House is made of about 1,500 two-liter plastic bottles that sit on a rammed earth tire foundation.  Winter greens are started and grown in the green house.  The raised beds that surround the green house are made of earth bags.

Other buildings include two straw bale tiny sleeping cottages - The Fire Fly and May Apple, designed by INSA engineering student Nans Thomassey (Toulouse, France), the Llama Lounge (also designed and built by Nans), the solar shower (The Corsican), designed by INSA engineering student Jean Phillip Buti (from Corsica), the summer kitchen (designed by contracting student Marie Baron of France), and the Dragin' Lair Cottage.

The goal is to merge engineering, art and re-use of existing materials.  This is accomplished by creating buildings made out of re-used materials to demonstrate a series of alternative building techniques, including the Earthship, straw bale structures, earth bag walls, and whatever else seems to make sense.

In addition to the buildings, workshops and publications, Blue Rock Station is open periodically for llama trekking around the beautiful hills of Southeastern Ohio, special events like Earth Day and special open house tours, plus skill building weekends.