Synergy Pervades a Journey Home in Oshara Village
It couldn’t have happened to anybody, but it happened to my friend Diego Mulligan at a new-urbanist village called “Oshara.” One minute he’s on a backhoe excavating a two-foot-deep footer for his solar dream home. The next minute he’s digging a nine-foot-deep hole for the ceremonial kiva that he’s always wanted.
So what if such a diversion wasn’t on the plans?
A kiva is a cylindrical hole in the ground with a roof on it. Used by Pueblo Indians of the Southwest for centuries, you typically enter and exit a kiva via a ladder. Embedded within the Earth, a good kiva will exude healing powers while providing spiritual strength to those who enter.
Getting final approval for the addendum to his plans cost Diego countless hours of sweat equity, but in the end he and his wife Jen were able to have their kiva for a mere $10 per square foot. I had a wonderful experience touring their unfinished house and kiva the other day. Down in the hole, you feel a profound vibe. The acoustics are remarkably soothing, gentle and powerful at the same time. Then, in the quiet, calm protection of the place, my soul suddenly felt grounded and clear in a way that’s mostly unfamiliar to me.
The couple named their future home The Synergy House because it is designed so that every component serves multiple functions. From the solarium and the root cellar to the composting toilet and the cistern, this affordable home may be one of the most ecological structures I’ve ever seen (and as an ecological landscape designer, I see lots of structures). Perhaps more importantly, it looks as if the house might become one of the most comfortable structures that I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
When their home is complete, Diego and Jen will broadcast their popular afternoon drive-time radio show from a circular studio located directly over the kiva. “The Journey Home” can be found at www.ksfr.org or from 5:00pm to 6:00pm on the FM dial (at 101.1 anywhere between Taos and Albuquerque). I’m sure it will be a challenging journey for both of them as their building site evolves into a famous eco-home, but now that their kiva is complete, their personal journey home will have a reasonably dependable fountainhead of inspiration—thanks to a bolt of creative confidence and the strength to follow through.