It is after the developed world living systems – centralized utilities, economy, transportation, food production and government itself – have all gradually crumbled to the point of critical mass and fully collapsed. People are on their own. A small group of about a dozen people have stumbled on to a large building in the desert of New Mexico that has been abandoned. It was clearly an attempt at a sustainable building that failed. The basic structure was was quite beautiful with inspiring spaces built very well, but it ends there. There was a mis-guided attempt to provide luxurious, even decadent, systems in a sustainable way which in itself is a contradiction. In fact, this building is a testament to the inappropriateness that prevailed just before the fall.

It is, never-the-less, a multi chambered structure that does offer some protection from the elements. It even has a certain degree of southern orientation and mass which are two factors in carbon free temperature stabilization for living spaces. It is a good place to begin carving out a new life. It is certainly better than the windy, dusty exposed desert. We are those dozen people. We are the HIVE.

The components that made up the ridiculous attempt at sustainable systems that was present in this building have long been ripped out by scavengers and thieves. We have nothing here but slightly thermal and solar oriented spaces – hardly more than a beautiful south facing cliff with a series of shallow caverns carved out by the wind. We may as well look at it as such. This building is simply “terrain”. We can hold up here and try to assemble the necessities of life through the seasons. We clearly need the following…

we need to tune up this “terrain” so it can keep us warm in the sub-zero winters
and cool in the 100+ summers of this part of New Mexico.

we need water – there is the provision to harvest water built into this “terrain” as well as a storage cistern. There is a dozen plus of us. The rains and snow melt only provide about 7” of total annual precipitation. This precipitation sometimes doesn’t come for months at a time. There can be four months of no precipitation at all. There is… about a half mile away, a well with a solar powered pump that still works. It pumps into a 14,000 gallon reservoir. We can use this. Our logical approach to this situation must involve minimal an ingenious usage of water. We must make use of the same water many times in order to have sanitary toilet situations, bathing situations and food growing situations. This is one of our challenges because water is essential to our lives.

we have found a few photovoltaic panels and a few batteries to provide minimal
power for pumping, minor lighting, and some communications gadgets. Again, as with water, we must involve ourselves with minimal and ingenious use of this energy.

we will obviously need food on a regular basis. This structure has protected greenhouse type spaces linked with the waste water from the plumbing fixtures. We must, yet again, engage ourselves with minimal and ingenious methods… this time it is minimal use and ingenious production of food.

it is clear that we will need to evolve the structure itself to some extent as we try to
make it our home. We have almost limitless supplies of discarded materials from near by towns that can be used in many different ways for building and improving/evolving the structure.

This is the HIVE – a training camp for and an education in… logical survival…

“let the games begin”

michael reynolds