Growing up in the 80’s, Star Wars was ubiquitous. I made my own costumes and lightsabers and spent hours playing with action figures from the movies. Naturally, I always envied Luke Skywalker’s home on the Lars Homestead. It’s probably been at least a decade since I watched any of the original movies, but during my time researching and designing our home in the past few weeks, I kept thinking back to the similarities of earthen houses and the Homestead. Tara was all about earthbag domes long before I was. I think I would have been on board a lot quicker if she would have presented it as, “Hey, do you want a house like Luke Skywalker or not?!”
According to fan lore, the structure is made of rammed earth, a monolithic building method similar to adobe. In reality, it was made with chicken wire and plaster which doesn’t make for a sound structure. Of course, this wasn’t intended to provide lasting housing and only needed to last long enough for filming. Comparatively, some of the indigenous earthen domes in northern Africa and the middle east that this dome seems to be modeled after have stood for centuries.
In the movie, this dome served merely as an entrance to the Lars Homestead which was largely underground to take advantage of the cooler temperature of the earth. It features a central courtyard, similar to the open floor plan featured in our plans and many other progressive green homes.
The wall of the courtyard are coated with a lime-based plaster or paint to reflect the desert sun away from the interiors. On our home we will use darker, earth-tone plasters to absorb more heat.
During the process of researching for building and searching for info for this post, it’s been awesome discovering that what I thought was a cool house as a kid is still as cool house as an adult. Now I just need to figure out if the reasons are more or less nerdy…