Anyone with the slightest familiarity with modern construction methods and materials knows how unhealthy some new buildings are. People ask us repeatedly what guidelines are given in Maharishi Vedic architecture concerning the use of construction materials.
Our primary recommendation is to build with natural and non-toxic materials suitable to the local climatic conditions. Walls, roofs, and floors made of solid wood, stone, clay tile, brick or earth. These are the materials that people are returning to who want to live in a healthy home.
Maharishi Vedic architecture promotes thick, breathing walls, a principle not common in conventional U.S. construction. Thick walls help to support the protective quality of the Vastu and make a natural barrier to weather elements. Most natural wall material will allow the house to breathe even when they are thick.
But even if finances do not allow for the extensive use of log or earth construction, it is still possible to make use of many non-toxic materials with conventional stick-frame or modular construction.
In the next issues, we will describe some of these alternatives, such as flooring materials, natural insulation materials and wall coverings.
"Maharishi Sthapatya Veda is that aspect of the cosmic knowledge of Natural Law which maintains the buildings in which the individual lives and works, and the environment in which he moves, well set in cosmic harmony. This is the purpose of architecture: it should take into account all environmental values of individual and collective life." - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from Celebrating Perfection in Administration
Have you ever had the good fortune to stay in a log house? Maybe on a vacation to the mountains, or a lake, or, as I did, to the ocean. As a teenager, I spent part of the summer on the coast of maine. Along with the ocean and the cool breezes, the log structure was an integral part of this wonderful experience. I always felt "at home" there, more than any of the other houses I have lived in since.
At the recent Veda House weekend, hosted by Maharishi Global Construction in Fairfield, Iowa, the seminar dealing with log construction for Maharishi Vastu homes was most enthusiastically received. One of the most ideal building materials according to Sthapatya Veda texts is wood because it is a natural, breathing material and the walls function as both structure and insulation. Using logs gives the added benefit of thermal mass that optimizes energy efficiency in both summer and winter. Reports from our Vastu log homeowners are enthusiastic. One man reported a high bill of only $68 per month in the winter for a 2400 sq. ft. log home here in Iowa. This same man has built three log homes to date. " I got so I really enjoyed the process of building them." A lady who has built a 1700 sq. ft. log home commented, " Log construction is easy to do if you want to be your own general contractor. We love logs!"
There are several options for log construction, most of which work well for getting the precision of measurement necessary for Maharishi Vedic architecture. There are many custom log home companies that will analyze a house design and cut the needed logs to exact specifications in their factory, assemble it there to make sure it fits together, disassemble and ship it to your lot and then send a construction team to reassemble it on site. The best companies kiln dry their logs before cutting so the wood is both dry and "cured". This reduces cracking and shrinkage of the logs and ensures precise measurements. Some of these companies use solid logs, others use a log laminate which is usually four to five layers of one and a half inch thick logs laminated together for strength. This is totally acceptable in Maharishi Vedic architecture as long as the glue used to hold the layers together is of a non-toxic variety.
The other method that has been used successfully for Maharishi Vastu homes is cutting the logs on site to the required measurements. Again, the logs should be kiln-dried first but it allows for a good custom fit and larger logs can be used.
Laminated logs are always squared off, producing flat walls that look similar to shiplap wood siding. The other methods can be used with either squared-off logs or with the authentic and rustic tapering round log walls used in one of the homes featured here.
Using logs for the exterior of your Vastu home does not mean the interior walls need to have that same appearance. Some people like this look but only in certain areas. Interior walls can be finished with conventional drywall or plaster, or the logs can be planed and pickled on the inside to create a refined appearance.
From the pictorial examples through out this newsletter you can see a range of exterior as well as interior style and design. Many of the MGC pre-design homes can and have been easily adapted to log construction, making the design and construction process even simpler.
To date, Maharishi Vastu log homes range from 1200 sq ft to 11,000 sq ft. There is even a 28,000 sq ft. Maharishi Vastu log office building, believed to be the largest log structure built in the US.
If you are thinking of building a Maharishi Vastu log home, we are happy to discuss this technology in more detail and give you suggestions for contacts to address. Enjoy the photos of already-completed Maharishi Vastu log homes!