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Rick Ohanian, Earth Home "Master"

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Full Scale Model Earth Home Mock-up at Ohio State Fair, 1979

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Full-Scale Model Earth Home Mock-up at Ohio State Fair, 1980

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Line of people outside model home.  In 1979, we took over 200,000 people through this model home.  These lines were like this for twelve straight days!

Hi folks, Rick Ohanian, designer/builder in the State of Texas and Earth Home "Master" here.  *(That's me on the left showing my two future architects how it's done)  I'd like to introduce you to myself and my company, "Home Sweet Earth Home".   We are designers and builders of fine earth sheltered homes since 1977.

I am 43 years old and a registered designer/builder in the State of Texas with an avid professional interest in earth sheltered housing and energy efficient design.  In 1977, fresh-out of architectural school, I joined a group called Solar Earth Energy, Inc. (SEE) and represented them in Cincinnati.  The earth sheltered home movement was in its first few years then and it was very exciting.

While with SEE I met a concrete contractor from Springfield, Ohio, Mr. David P. Hamilton, Jr. and together we formed Shelterra Earth Homes and designed and built a few in 1979 and 1980.  In those same years, we also built two full-scale earth sheltered home models at the Ohio State Fair.  Perhaps those of you in Ohio may remember them.  During those few years Dave and I revolutionized the contractor-built earth sheltered home industry by developing many details of architecture and construction that are now standard in the industry.  We were also invited to participate in may professional seminars and symposiums such as the Mother Earth News gatherings and "Earth Shelter II" offered by the University of Minnesota Underground Space Center.  Our papers and presentations are recorded in their proceedings journals if you are interested.

Unfortunately, we were forced to disband the company for three reasons:  1) interest rates under the Carter Administration had reached 22%, 2) the news media began to discuss earth homes and energy-efficiency less and less each year and 3) unfortunately, most of the people who contacted us proved to be sort of "information junkies" that we never heard from again, once we sent them our original materials.

We are hopeful that this is not the case in the 90's and beyond.  We hope there are more of you out there now that wish to design and build, rather than just collect information.  I said good-bye to earth sheltered design for 20 years and worked for architectural firms in Dallas, Texas, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio on various traditional "above ground" structures such as hotels (Embassy Suites Hotels to be exact) and other regular projects such as warehouse and office buildings.

However, there seems to be a rekindled amount of interest on the Internet with regard to earth sheltered housing, so we have decided to get back into the business and help our prospective homeowners and other clients, however we can, in their design and construction plans.

Dave, the builder, is still around, and I, personally, am not without considerable expertise as during our times together I won two national design awards:

1)  An "Entering Professionals" Award, a $5,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts for my work in the field of Earth Sheltered and Underground Housing, and:

2) A $22,000 "Passive Solar Design and Commercialization Grant" from the DOE's Mid American Solar Energy Complex (MASEC).

So I hope you enjoy our site and will contact us for all of your earth sheltered home design and construction plans.  (We also do commercial projects that desire to go earth sheltered or exhibit a degree of energy efficiency.)   So give us a call or email us at your earliest convenience.

Thanks Everyone!