Today’s tour is somewhat of a sad story. The original building was called The Nautilus. It was called that because the basic structure of the building was based on a seashell design. Here is a picture of it.
It’s a small, one bedroom cozy little home, very much like The Hut. I took a picture of a picture from one of the Earthship books that I have so you can see what it looked like from the outside. It’s a bit fuzzy, but I think you can make it out.
Unfortunately, it no longer looks like this. You see, it was bought by a couple a number of years ago. This couple was described as having more money than brains. They wanted to make some additions to the house. That is an understatement.
They wanted to make the building into an exotic yoga retreat, where people would come to stay, paying a premium price (something like $400 a night). They originally hired the Earthship crew to make the changes, but it wasn’t too long into the process when the crew noticed that they weren’t really following the Earthship principles and they mentioned this to the clients. Well, they got fired, and external contractors were brought in to make the changes to the building.
By the end of construction, the couple had sunk $4 million into additions. They also went bankrupt. We were told many interesting stories about them, but to give you one small example, they had put all of these turquoise blue crystals all over the house “because they attract angels which will then come and lay their eggs there.”
Anyway, the bank seized their house and they disappeared. Meanwhile the bank was holding on to this monstrosity of a building and they couldn’t do anything with it. So they asked Mike Reynolds if he would take it off their hands. He said he didn’t have $4 million. The bank said they would give it to him for $250k. So, he did.
Now they use it as an office building. I’m sure you’re tired of me blabbing, so let’s get on with the tour. This first shot is from the parking lot at the back.
As you can see, it’s gotten quite a bit bigger. Not the little cozy place it used to be. This next shot is of the view that you would see from the front of the house. It’s kind of this long gully leading off into the distance that runs along the one side of the building.
The pictures are going to jump around quite a bit, so bear with me please. Next we have a closeup of some of the roof detail. All of the roof was done in concrete plaster. It was all formed to channel the water into cisterns, but it had some problems. They have had to do a few repairs on it.
Next, we’re going to move inside. This was the first room we entered and it was a control room. Unfortunately, the picture is blurry and I didn’t take pictures of the other sections. It was this gigantic mess of electrical and plumbing doodads that would remind you of the movie Brazil, if you ever saw it.
Here we have a small bunk room, with two beds. You can’t see the other one, but it has a ladder up to it over to the right side.
Turning to your right from the previous picture there was a chair and small desk for doing work. Again, this one is blurry. Sorry about that.
Now we move into the building proper. This was taken from the second floor. As you can see, lots of glass.
From the previous picture, take that first left, head through the first wall of glass and you end up in this second green house area. This next shot was taken from up stairs looking down into the planters.
You can’t see the details, but from where I was standing to take that previous shot, there was a ladder behind me that led up to a small loft where they used to have a bedroom. They had a bunch of these. Before they turned the building into offices, they used to house academy students here.
Here we have the big kitchen. When we walked in there it smelled like someone had just baked fresh cinnamon buns.
Turn to the left a bit and there was this nice seating area off the kitchen with sofas and a fireplace which afforded a nice view out into the desert.
Here is a better shot of the seating area.
We’ve moved downstairs in the next shot. This is the “hallway” between offices.
… and more plants.
Now we come to some of the parts that are left from the original house. Here is the bathroom, with it’s funky stone work.
The original kitchen, which is looking small and neglected compared to that big one upstairs.
There was a set of steps leading up to this platform which is where the bed was in the original house. You can figure it out by looking at the floor plan I posted at the top.
Turn around on the platform and you can see the built-in fireplace they had in the bed room.
Back in the “additions”, here is another random bathroom that was on the first floor. Behind the toilet is a sunken shower stall.
The next few shots are of the exterior. If you go back and look at the first shot I took from the parking lot, on the very right edge you can see what looks like two doors, one on top of the other. Here is a closer look.
That’s off the end of the original house. I’m guessing the top door used to lead out onto the roof, but right now, it’s just a drop off.
Continuing around to the front from the west side of the building, we see the original front face glass.
Turning a bit to face more east, you can see the size of the additions they made to the original building. You can also see a bunch of people checking out the roof details.
I’ve moved east in front of that big atrium for this next picture. That upper door where you can see someone exiting is the seating area beside the kitchen.
If you turn around 180 degrees from that last picture, this is the view. If you go there yourself, I make no guarantees that there will be a dog in your pictures, though.
A bit further to the east we can finally see the edge of the building. Between the previous picture of the detail in front of the kitchen and this next one, you can see that room with the pyramid roof and the stairs leading up to it. That is Mike Reynolds’ office and he was there when we did this tour, so we couldn’t go inside it to see what it was like.
If you continue to circle the building down along the east side towards the back, we get this shot of all the glass they added to the east side.
Walking a bit further, we come to the back.
This last picture was just a interesting tidbit I found beside the parking lot. It’s a chunk of bottle wall that had been removed from… somewhere. It thought it was interesting to see the interior of it.
Well, that’s all of the pictures I have of The Hive, as they now call it. This is definitely a great example of how a lot of money can ruin a good thing. I’m sure that place is cold in the winter with all of those east facing windows.