A Fabship is a fully autonomous workshop (Fablab) prototype, powered by renewable energy and hosted in a bioclimatic self-sufficient building called Earthship. Fabships are essentially about people, power and community. It is about challenging the concept of How to make (almost) Anything within an autonomous makerspace, setting a tangible framework for energy efficient manufacturing, and empowering communities to produce locally as well as sustainably. Fablabs and Earthships are two worldwide communities and growing movements, each of them drive their specific academies, Fab Academy and Earthship Academy. The Fabship project intends to unite these momenta.
Earthship example in Uruguay - una escuela sustentable
For the last 50 years Earthship Biotecture, lead by Architect Michael Reynolds, has been a pioneer in eco-construction, building off-grid homes with natural and recycled materials. Their projects include disaster relief and humanitarian builds around the world. Today Earthships are tried and tested models for autonomous and sustainable living. They address six basic human needs: comfortable shelter, renewable energy (solar/wind/water), sewage treatment, using recycled materials, water harvesting, and food production. These off the grid homes have been built in many extreme and diverse climates. Earthships have evolved through many models, and as a result their designs and systems have gradually become more practical, affordable and efficient. Earthships are carbon-negative, energy-independent and fully functional vessels that not only brings all the comforts of a conventional home, but also create a positive and regenerative environmental footprint.
As defined by the Fabfoundation, Fablabs are technical prototyping spaces for innovation and invention, providing stimulus for local entrepreneurship. They are the educational outreach component of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), an extension of its research into digital fabrication and computation. FabLabs are also platforms for learning and innovation: a place to play, to create, to learn, to mentor, to invent, to repair. To be a Fab Lab means connecting to a global community of learners, educators, technologists, researchers, makers and innovators, a knowledge sharing network that spans 30 countries and 24 time zones. Because all Fab Labs share common tools and processes, the program is building a global network, a distributed laboratory for research and invention. Given the power of the Internet, digital fabrication and open source technology, some talk of the next manufacturing revolution, and there is no doubt that the democratisation of productive power is shifting paradigms and re-inventing industries.
Fabships are off-grid workshops that empower communities to become truly autonomous through energy efficient fabrication. As locally sourced and globally connected innovation spaces, Fabships provide an alternative small-scale production model to the “take, make and dispose” industrial mindset that is decimating our planet. By synergising the power of nature, technology and community, these off-grid maker spaces allow us to build vital things (almost) Anywhere. Technology is not an end in itself. It is how we apply it to better serve our collective human needs and those of the Earth we all call home.
Awareness raises when the limits of using, consuming, and disposing become tangible on an every day level, locally. Finding and creating these limits help define our freedoms. Energy independence is a great freedom, and with it comes great awareness and responsibility. Fabships invite to explore the boundaries between self-sufficiency and fabrication. How much, how fast, and for how long can we make things by using only locally harvested, renewable resources? Must natural phenomenon dictate what we should be making or rather guide us to rethink how we can make it? How much energy does it take to 3D print a power generator? The idea is not to limit but to channel the creative use of modern fabrication to the needs of communities that want to be self-reliant.
Building a FabLab in an Earthship is more than a technical challenge, it is the cross-fertilization of communities in the spirit of open-source learning and innovation. Both movements in their parrallel ways have been inspiring people to reclaim creative agency, build more intelligently, and rethink what we produce, how we consume and where we dump our waste.
We have a unique opportunity in Taos, New Mexico, USA to build the first Fabship prototype. The Earthship community in Taos counts 100 residents and with the Earthship Academy and internship program, more than 400 students visit this place each year. This, together with the local team of experienced builders and teachers, makes this community an ideal case study to implement the first fabship.
This prototype is meant to be replicated around the world to set up sustainable workshops where people can design globally how to build locally the world they dream to leave in with what the Earth and the Sun have to offer.
We welcome your feedback and your involvement.
We are looking for financial support to build and set up the first fabship.